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FEBRUARY 17, 1897 


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of the 




Valdese, North Carolina 


Copyright © 1993 by 

Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Valdese, North Carohna 

Printed in the U.S.A. 


Delmar Printing 




This history is dedicated to those Waldensians who came to this 
place one hundred years ago and founded this church and town. As a 
group, they were poor in worldly goods but rich in the faith that 
undergirded their lives. Their first act upon stepping off the train on 
May 29, 1893 was to gather around their pastor to offer a prayer of 

In the distribution of land, the choice area which later became the 
center of the town was designated as church property. A hastily 
built, two-story house provided a place for worship until the church 
was completed in 1899. The force which unified and strengthened 
the colonists in the hardships of the early years was their trust in 
God. As He had preserved their forefathers, He would sustain them 
also and help them prosper in this new land. 

We, the descendants of those pioneers, owe them a debt of 
gratitude for their Christian example, which has given us cause to 
rejoice in our heritage and to strive to emulate them in our own 
time. Without the courage and devotion of the Waldensians who 
settled Valdese, none of the blessings and opportunities we have had 
here during the past one hundred years would have been ours to 


Inside front cover: The Waldensian Valleys in Italy 
Inside back cover: 1895 Street Plat of Valdese 

Current Map of Valdese 

Color Presentation 

Sanctuary window with the emblem of the Waldensian Church 



PART I: History of The Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


1 Waldensian History 3 

2 Years of Struggle (1893-1900) 13 

3 Building on the Foundation (1901-1917) 37 

4 A Time of Transition (1918-1940) 57 

5 Growth and Vitality (1941-1949) 77 

6 Expansion, Involvement, Witness (1950-1968) 93 

7 Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 

(1969-1993) 115 

8 The Promise of the Future 181 

PART II: Heritage and People 

9 Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 185 

10 The Valdese Corporation 203 

11 Building and Renovation Programs 207 

12 Waldensian Customs and Traditions 211 

The Waldensian Emblem 211 

The Waldensian Traditional Dress 212 

Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals 213 

Waldensian Celebrations 214 

Waldensian Food 216 

The Waldensian Dialect 217 

Farming and Wine Making 219 

Social Life 220 

Boccie 223 

The Courenta — Waldensian Folk Dance 224 


13 Early Organizations 227 

14 Church Leaders 231 

Charter Members 231 

Waldensian Presbyterian Church Staff 234 

Elders of the Waldensian Presbyterian 

Church 236 

Deacons of the Waldensian Presb3d:erian 

Church 239 

Sunday School 242 

Women of the Church 

Presidents 244 

Women of the Church 

Honorary Life Memberships 245 

Special Awards 246 

15 The Second Cornerstone Service 249 

Resources 252 

Index 255 



In May 1989 the Centennial Committee of the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church asked the Historical Committee to prepare an 
account of the first one hundred years of the church as part of the 
observance of the centennial in 1993. For the past three years, a 
committee of eleven has worked diligently to research and write this 
history. As the work progressed, the people and events of the past 
came alive, and the committee members developed a profound 
respect for the many who contributed to the growth and nurture of 
this congregation. Although it was not possible to include the 
names of all who have given unselfishly of their time, talents, and 
material wealth to their church, their work was not overlooked nor 
is it forgotten. It is the sincere hope of the Church History 
Committee that each reader of this book will be filled with 
thankfulness for the blessings God has bestowed upon this church. 

"Come and see what God has done. " Psalm 66:5 

Church History Committee Church Centennial Committee 

John A. Bleynat 
Jewell Pyatt Bounous 
Evelyn Pons Bronson 
Catherine Rivoire Cole 
Catherine Dalmas 
Carol Price Felker 
Paul H. Felker 
Imogene Pons Hudson 
Olga Pascal 

Naomi Bounous Rostan 
Rosalba Pascal Shook 

John A. Bleynat 
Evelyn Bounous 
Carol A. Perrou Brown 
Catherine Rivoire Cole 
Catherine Dalmas 
Paul H. Felker 
Benjamin W. Garrou, Sr. 
Hilda Ogle Jones 
Edward Pascal 
Linda Keenan York 



of the 




WALDENSIAN HISTORY— Faith of our Fathers 

"0 Lord my God, in Thee do I put my trust: save me from 
all them that persecute me, and deliver me. " Psalm 7:1 

A short, history of the Waldensian Church 
from antiquity to the late nineteenth century. 

A history of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church of Valdese 
would have little real meaning without a look at the history of the 
Waldensian Church of Italy. It is necessary to know some of this 
history in order to appreciate what went into forming the character 
and beliefs of that group of people who came to Valdese in 1893 to 
settle the town of Valdese and to found the Waldensian Presby- 
terian Church. 

The Waldensian Church is the oldest evangelical church still in 
existence. The church can trace its roots through the records of 
persecution found in the archives of Europe, as early as the year 
1174. This date is 400 years before the Reformation. There are 
ancient references that would date the beginning back to a much 
earlier time, at least to the fourth century. 

There is even disagreement as to the origin of the name, 
Waldensian. One explanation of the name, which seems reasonable, 
is found in a recommendatory letter from Samuel Miller, Professor 
of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government in the Theologi- 
cal Seminary at Princeton. The letter was written February 24, 1845 
to commend Griffith and Simon Publishers for printing the History 
of the Ancient Christians by Jean Paul Perrin, written prior to 1618. 
In his letter. Dr. Miller quotes from writings of Robert Robinson, a 
divine of Cambridge in England, who died in 1795. In his Eccle- 
siastical Researches he gives this explanation: 

From the Latin, "VaUis," come the English, "Valley"; the 
French and Spanish, "Valle"; the Italian, "Valdesi"; the 
Low Dutch, "Valleye"; the Provencal, "Vaux," "Vaudais"; 
the ecclesiastical "Vallenses," "Valdenses," "Ualdenses" 
and "Waldenses." The words simply signify — valleys — 
the inhabitants of valleys and no more. It happened that 

4 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

the inhabitants of the Pyrenees did not profess the 
Catholic faith. It fell out also that the inhabitants of the 
valleys about the Alps did not embrace that faith. It 
happened, moreover, in the ninth century, that one 
Valdus, a friend and follower of Berengarius, and a man of 
eminence, who had many followers, did not approve of the 
Papal discipline and doctrine, and it came to pass about a 
hundred and thirty years later, that a rich merchant of 
Lyons, who was called Valdus, because he received his 
religious opinions from the inhabitants of the valleys, 
openly disavowed the Roman religion, supported many to 
teach the doctrines believed in the valleys, and became 
the instrument of the great conversion of great numbers. 
All the people were called "Waldenses." (302-303) 

In 1847, the publishing firm of Griffith and Simon in Phila- 
delphia began plans to publish the history of the Waldensians 
written by Jean Paul Perrin. In preparation for this publication 
they received the letter mentioned above from the Rev. Samuel 
Miller, D.D., concerning his knowledge of Perrin's history as well as 
his knowledge of the Waldensians. Miller dates the beginning of the 
Waldensians to 660 AD or earlier. He further states that the 
Waldensians were found in France, Italy and Bohemia at about that 
period. According to Dr. Miller, all these people held basically the 
same beliefs. They believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, the 
Divinity of Christ, the vicarious nature of the atonement and 
justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ. These doc- 
trines were the same as those put forth at a later date by John 
Calvin. In the centuries ahead, many of the men who persecuted 
and prosecuted the leaders of the Reformation accused Reforma- 
tion leaders of being Waldensians or following the Waldensian 

The ancestors of the Valdese Waldensians were located along the 
French-Italian border in a small area of about three hundred square 
miles of the Cottian Alps of Italy. This area for many years was 
under the domination of France. Some of the families had moved 
into the Valleys hundreds of years ago to escape persecution in 
France. This helps account for some of the French names found in 
the area. 

In the year 1215, at the Fourth Lateran Council, the Waldensians 
were condemned for heresy. Prior to this time, they had only been 
reprimanded and expelled from their communities. This was proba- 

Waldensian History 5 

bly the beginning of serious organized persecution. The first record 
of a Waldensian being burned at the stake was in 1309 when a 
Waldensian woman was burned at Pinerolo. During the late 1300's 
and early 1400's, a series of inquisitions took place against Walden- 
sians in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bohemia. At one time, 400 
people were tried and condemned in Stettin, Poland. 

In 1487, the first crusade against the Waldensians in the Alps 
took place. There had been isolated incidents, but in 1487, Cat- 
taneo, the representative of Pope Innocent VIII, led a full scale war 
on the inhabitants. Anyone taking part in the war could claim the 
property of any Waldensian they could kill. This was an open 
invitation to the rabble to come in, and it led to heavy fighting and 
much killing and looting. Most of the homes and the vineyards were 
destroyed or burned. Many of the survivors escaped to the south of 

Martin Luther, in 1517, nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the 
castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, and the Reformation was 
under way. During the next few years, some of the Waldensian 
ministers met with leaders of the Reformation, which led to the 
synod meeting held in 1532 at Chanforan, Angrogna, in the 
Waldensian Valleys. At this meeting, the Waldensians officially 
became part of the Reformation. As their specific contribution to 
the Reformation, the Waldensians raised the money to support the 
translation of the Bible into the French language by Olivetan. This 
was the first complete translation of the Bible into French. Move- 
able type had recently been invented, and the new printing presses 
made reproduction practical. Peter Waldo had been responsible for 
having portions of the Bible translated into the vernacular four 
hundred years earlier. 

There was a fairly large community of Waldensians located 
around the village of Merindol, France. Some of the residents had 
moved in from the valleys across the border in Italy, and some were 
natives of the area. This was a very prosperous area due to 
industriousness of the Waldensians. The prosperity became the 
cause of jealousy on the part of the Roman church and state officials 
of the area. In 1545, a Roman Inquisitor set out to rid the area of 
Waldensians. A papal army was sent into the area, and a massacre 
ensued. Thousands were killed, and several towns, including Mer- 
indol, France, were destroyed. 

For hundreds of years, the Waldensians had worshipped in their 
homes and caves — anywhere they could get a group together. One 

6 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

reason was their belief that church buildings were an extravagance 
and merely a means for getting money for the priests and hierarchy. 
However, in 1555, they changed their opinion, and the first church 
building for the Waldensians was built at Ciabas, in the valley of 
Angrogna. The building is still standing after 440 years. 

The year 1561 brought a peace of sorts. At a meeting in Cavour, 
Italy, on June 5, a document was signed by representatives of the 
Waldensians and the Duke of Savoy. Although it was not officially 
recognized as a treaty, it did arrange for an end to the fighting. This 
document spelled out for the first time in European history the fact 
that subjects who practiced a different religion from that of the 
ruling power possessed officially recognized rights. Up until this 
time, it had always been the rule, and this was accepted by the 
leaders of the Reformation also, that the religion of the ruler 
determined the religion of his subjects. The signing of the document 
did not end the problems of the Waldensians by any means, but it at 
least was acknowledged in writing that they had certain rights. 

The next fifty or sixty years were somewhat more peaceful for the 
Waldensians, as the ruling powers engaged in wars in other parts of 
Europe and persecuted followers of the Reformation in those areas. 

The Black Death struck the Valleys in 1630. This was one of the 
last epidemics of the plague in Europe, but it was one of the most 
deadly. It began in May of 1630 in San Germano and soon affected 
all the Valleys. It was estimated that between 8,500 and 9,000 people 
died, including eleven of the thirteen pastors in the Valleys. The 
death of these ministers had a far reaching impact on the future of 
the church. Up until this time, all the pastors had been natives of 
the area, reared and educated in the Waldensian traditions. When 
the eleven pastors died, the people turned to Geneva for help. A 
cadre of pastors was sent to help — pastors who had been trained in 
the Geneva Academy and who knew little of the Waldensian 
traditions. They used methods and organizations which were new to 
the Waldensians but which probably streamlined the operation of 
the church. The pastors and moderators were given more power 
than they had previously held. The most dramatic change was the 
use of the French language in worship. The pastors trained in 
Geneva did not speak Italian, and although the Waldensians spoke 
both French and Italian, they had used Italian in their worship 
services in hopes of influencing their Catholic neighbors. They now 
began using French in all services and communications. For the 
next three hundred years, French was the official language of the 

Waldensian History 7 

Waldensian Church, until the twentieth century when Benito 
Mussohni forced the use of the ItaUan language. 

By 1655, the wars in the remainder of Europe had calmed, and the 
authorities could once again return to their favorite pastime of 
harassing Waldensians. The Massacre of the Piedmontese Easter 
occurred that year. The authorities had required the Waldensian 
families to provide room and board for the soldiers. The soldiers 
were instructed to kill the families they were staying with on Easter 
morning. More than a thousand Waldensians were slaughtered at 
that time. In the long run, this act probably helped those who 
survived, because the brutalities the Waldensians suffered aroused 
the indignation of the ruling powers of Europe, who protested to the 
local rulers. In years to come, England and Holland, in particular, 
provided support for the Waldensians. 

The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 opened the door for 
more religious persecution. The revocation gave the Duke of Savoy 
an excuse to tighten his hold on the Waldensians. In January 1686, 
he revoked the rights of the Waldensians to hold church services. 
On March 6, the Waldensians resumed their church services in 
direct defiance of the Duke. This action played right into the hands 
of Louis XIV of France, who had already stationed Marshal Catinat 
and his troops at Pinerolo in hopeful anticipation of the Walden- 
sian defiance. The Swiss sent envoys to try to prevent bloodshed, 
but the Waldensians refused to give up their right to hold worship 
services. The French Dragoons and Piedmontese militia moved 
into the Valleys. In six weeks, the fighting was over. Two thousand 
Waldensians died, and 8,500 were taken prisoner. The rest agreed to 
renounce their faith. The survivors were scattered over the middle 
sections of Italy and forbidden to practice their faith. Of those who 
were imprisoned, 2,000 able-bodied men were sent to Venice to be 
sold as galley slaves, and others were sent to France. Of 1,400 
imprisoned at Carmagnola, 1,000 died within a few months. In 
another prison, only 46 of 1,000 prisoners survived. 

In late 1686, the Duke agreed to permit the surviving prisoners to 
go into exile in Switzerland. They were to walk across the Alps in 
the dead of winter. The first group began their trek on January 17, 
and the last of the thirteen groups arrived in Geneva on March 10, 
1687. Of 2,700 who began the march, 2,490 actually completed the 
trip. Some froze to death, others were lost, and some of the children 
were kidnapped by hostile peasants along the way, who used them 
to work and reared them as Roman Catholics. The Swiss, who had 

8 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

negotiated the release, did all they could to ease the suffering. Even 
many of the guards escorting them from the Duke of Savoy's army 
tried to help. When the group arrived in Geneva, the entire town 
turned out to greet them and invite them into their homes. The 
townspeople attacked the troops who had been guarding the 
Waldensians when they saw the poor condition of the refugees. 

The Waldensians were very unhappy in Switzerland, although 
the Swiss did everything in their power to make them feel at home. 
In July 1687, a group plotted to return to their Valleys and set out to 
do so but were stopped by the Swiss authorities. 

In 1688, a revolution in England placed William of Orange of 
Holland on the English throne. This was the beginning of a better 
time for the Waldensians. William of Orange was a Protestant and 
found an opportunity to hurt the French by helping the Walden- 
sians. His emissaries contacted Waldensian leaders and offered 
money and men to help them regain their lands. An army of 1,000 
men, including 600 Waldensians under the leadership of Henri 
Arnaud, began their march home on the night of August 16, 1689. 
Arnaud was a Waldensian minister who was born in the French 
Dauphine. He prepared for the ministry in Switzerland and Hol- 
land. He was one of the ministers who had played a leading part in 
the decision three years earlier to hold services in defiance of the 
ban on worship issued by the Duke of Savoy and Louis XIV. Arnaud 
had worked closely with the Huguenots in France and the Valleys, 
and as a result of this association, he was more militant than the 
average Waldensian minister. 

The army followed a manual written in the 1650's by Josue 
Janavel, a Waldensian farmer turned guerrilla fighter. He proved to 
be a good guerrilla tactician. He had laid down severe rules of 
conduct for the guerrilla fighters. A passage from his manual states: 
"Whoever in your company swears or blasphemes the holy name of 
God should be severely punished for his first offence, and if he 
persists, should be sentenced to death. In so acting you will see that 
the sword of the Lord our God will be with you." 

Janavel further specified that if someone was to be put to death, 
the execution should not take place until a council of war, composed 
of thirty or forty leaders, deliberated and pronounced the sentence. 
There should be no capital sentence if the pastor had no oppor- 
tunity to prepare and counsel the condemned. It was to be the 
pastor who designated those who were to carry out the sentence in 
order that there be no contestation and no offense to God. 

Waldensian History 9 

The Waldensian army applied the same rules to all their prison- 
ers. As the army passed through villages, they took hostages to 
prevent word of their passage from reaching authorities. The 
soldiers in the "rag-tag" army wore orange ribbons to identify 
themselves. The officers and men took an oath to obey and protect 
one another to the death. They fought "hit-and-run" engagements 
throughout the winter, losing men through battle and defection, 
until only 300 Waldensians remained. 

May 2, 1690 found the small army on a mountainside at Balsiglia 
facing 4,000 French soldiers in the valley below. The French 
attacked for several days, and when at last it seemed the men could 
hold no longer, a fog settled over the area, and the Waldensians were 
able to escape. A few days later when the Duke of Savoy broke his 
alliance with France and joined England and Austria, peace was 
restored to the area. 

In 1694, the Duke was forced to issue an Edict of Tolerance which 
guaranteed henceforth the right of the Waldensians to exist on their 
lands. The fight for religious tolerance had taken another step 

The military mistreatment of the Waldensians ended with the 
campaign just finished. Now the rulers began a political offensive 
which went on for another 150 years. What they had been unable to 
accomplish through force they attempted to accomplish politically. 

In 1698, the Duke ordered the expulsion of all French subjects in 
the area. This included the Waldensians of the area around 
Pinerolo and the French Huguenots who lived in the area. Alto- 
gether about 3,000 people were forced to leave. Although the exile 
was not as hard as the exile of 1686, it was still difficult. Henri 
Arnaud was included in the group since he had been born in France. 
The exiles were sent to the Wurttemberg region of Germany where 
they expanded the existing Waldensian communities and settled in 
new ones. 

After the completion of the exile of the people from the Pinerolo 
area, the authorities began working on the Waldensians of the 
Pragelato area in the northern Valleys. By 1716, the Reformed 
Christians were forbidden to assemble more than ten people in one 
place, and in 1721,a decree announced that every new-born baby 
was to be baptized a Roman Catholic. In 1730, all inhabitants of the 
Pragelato Valley were ordered to profess the Catholic religion, and 
no exercise, public or private, would be permitted of the pretended 
Reformed Religion. Hundreds of people in the area left to join their 

10 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

relatives and friends in Germany. While the church had been 
subjected to military campaigns, the faith of the people seemed to 
be strengthened. Now that the persecution took the form of 
political persecutions, the church seemed to be withdrawing unto 
itself. The whole area took on the appearance of a ghetto. 

The year 1789 brought the French Revolution which had its effect 
on the Valleys. The Waldensians gladly became part of the Revolu- 
tion and were given some places of relative importance in the local 
governments. When Napoleon became emperor in 1804, Walden- 
sians were given the right to their religion, freely and without 
discrimination. They were once again able to acquire lands and own 
businesses. However, this did not last for long. They were soon 
advised that the Waldensian Church was to become a part of the 
French Reformed Church. This meant they would no longer receive 
financial help from England. However, it also meant that churches 
which had been taken from them and made into Roman Catholic 
churches would now be returned to them; and when Roman 
Catholic churches were located in a Waldensian community with no 
Catholic parishioners, these would also be given to the Walden- 
sians. The Waldensian pastors would all be paid by the French 
government, as was the practice in France. Although the 
Napoleonic era lasted only about twenty years, it gave the people a 
taste of what freedom could mean. 

After the Napoleonic era ended, the King of Sardinia was 
returned to his throne, and the Waldensians were relegated to the 
conditions they had experienced one hundred years before. They 
were forbidden to import Bibles, there could be no new Waldensian 
schools established, and a new church at San Giovanni had to have 
a high fence built around it so that the Catholics would not have to 
look at it as they passed. 

In 1825, a former Genevan soldier turned pastor, Felix Neff, came 
to the Valleys. He became alarmed at the attitude of the Waldensian 
leaders who were content to live quietly and not upset the 
authorities. Neff demanded that the people resume their evangelis- 
tic way of life instead of accepting whatever came their way. He was 
soon chased back into France by the Sardinian government, but the 
fires he had begun continued to burn. At about this time, an 
Englishman, General Charles Beckwith, who had been an officer in 
Wellington's army at the battle of Waterloo and who had lost a leg 
in that battle, came to the area to recuperate. He read a book about 
the Waldensian people written by Canon Gilly, an Anglican minis- 

Waldensian History 11 

ter, and became interested. Beckwith encouraged the people to 
become missionaries of their faith and to stand up for their rights. 
He helped start a program which within twenty-five years had built 
a school in every village in the Valleys. By 1848, there were 169 
schools operating. Beckwith probably had more positive effect on 
the Waldensians than any other non-Waldensian man in their 

The year 1848 was fateful for the Waldensians. A few people in 
authority were troubled by the treatment of the Waldensians. They 
began some agitation to try to help them as well as the Jewish 
minority, who were subjected to the same discrimination. The 
Waldensian Tavola was so heartened by this effort that they sent a 
petition to King Charles Albert requesting that he revoke the 
restrictive edicts denying them civil rights, which had been in effect 
for so long. On February 17, 1848, the Edict of Emancipation was 
issued which granted Waldensians the same civil and political 
rights as the other subjects. The Edict permitted them to attend 
public schools and universities. However, no change was made as to 
the exercise of their worship or the operation of their own schools. 
This was a great step forward and is the reason for the annual 
celebration observed on February 17. Although the new freedom 
was greatly appreciated, it took more than 130 years to achieve full 
religious liberty and recognition by the Italian government. 

The foregoing history, which only includes excerpts to show the 
general climate of persecution and mistreatment of the Walden- 
sians for several hundred years, lets the reader know how the people 
were tempered and their characters forged by the fire of war and 

After the Edict of Emancipation in 1848, the people lived in peace 
and prospered. Their numbers grew until the area became so 
crowded they began to emigrate to other lands. Some went to South 
America, some to South Africa, and some to the United States. It 
was this condition that caused the settlers of Valdese to come to 
Burke County, North Carolina, to find a new home and a chance to 
earn a livelihood. 


History of the Waldensian Presbjrterian Church 


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Route of the 
Return" in 

This was the route of the 1000 Waldenses, under Henri Arnaud, 
who fought their way back home from Switzerland. Napoleon 
said it was the greatest military feat in history. It terminated in 
the siege of Balsiglia, where the surviving 300 withstood 4,000 
troops of Louis XIV of France, under Marshal Catinat, for one 
whole winter and won back their valleys and liberty. 



The Beginning in America 


"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, 

as a wise masterbuider, I have laid the foundation, and 

another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how 

he buildeth thereupon." I Corinthians 3:10 

The story of the first years in Valdese with the 
problems, fears, hunger, and frustration endured until 
the people adjusted to their new life and surroundings. 

The Waldensian Presbyterian Church in Valdese, Burke County, 
North Carohna, as it is today, credits its beginning to a group of 
Waldensians from the Cottian Alps of northwest Italy who desired 
to leave their ancestral area of historic renown. Increasingly 
overcrowded conditions since the cessation of oppression, hostili- 
ties and persecutions created in them a desire for better living 
conditions. In the early 1890's, many families made plans to leave 
the Valleys, to locate in some undeveloped area where cost of land 
would be less than in their mountains and valleys. 

This desire to emigrate came to the attention of an American 
capitalist and landowner, Marvin F. Scaife, of Pittsburg, Pennsyl- 
vania and Morganton, North Carolina. He heard of the Walden- 
sians' need to migrate and proceeded to assist them to emigrate to 
available lands in Burke County, North Carolina. 

In Dr. George B. Watts' book The Waldenses of Valdese, he states: 

Le Temoin, official organ of the Waldensian Church, 
reported on November 24, 1892, that the chairman of the 
Committee of Evangelization, Dr. Matteo Prochet, "re- 
ceived one day in Rome a visit from an American 
gentleman who discussed the project with him." More- 
over, in the same publication is a statement by Dr. 
Charles Albert Tron, who led the first group to North 
Carolina, that the venture was initiated in Rome by the 
Reverend Mr. Buffa, pastor of the Waldensian Church. 

14 History of the Waldensian Presbji^erian Church 

"It was to him," wrote Dr. Tron, "that Mr. Scaife ad- 
dressed himself when he was in Rome, and it was with 
him that he remained for a long time in correspondence 
about the conditions of sale. It was Mr. Buffa who wrote 
to Dr. Gay when the latter was in America, in order that 
he might go to the spot and see how things were." This Dr. 
Gay did, examining the proffered lands and lecturing in 
Morganton. (16-17) 

Dr. Teophilo Gay was traveling in America to collect funds for the 
Committee of Evangelization of the Waldensian Church. 

After many public meetings in the Waldensian Valleys, the first 
contingent of Waldensians made concrete plans to vacate their 
ancestral homes. In the spring of 1893, Jean Bounous and Louis 
Richard were sent to North Carolina to look over the land offered to 
the group. The new world seemed to offer much promise according 
to the report of the two delegates who weighed before them both 
affirmatives and negatives. Nonetheless, the beckoning beam from 
the lighted torch of the Statue of Liberty was a "golden door^' 
inducement, uplifting the spirit with hope of prosperity. 

In May 1893, the first detachment, led by Dr. Charles Albert 
Tron, left from Turin for Boulogne-sur-Mer. After a wait of six days 
in this port, embarkation was on the steamship Zaandam of the 
Holland-American Line. After a long and difficult voyage, the 
passengers arrived in New York on May 26, where they received a 
cordial welcome from Mr. Scaife, who had completed arrangements 
for their transportation to Burke County via the Richmond and 
Danville Railroad. 

The party of twenty- nine Waldensians arrived at what is now 
Valdese during the afternoon of Monday, May 29, 1893. Prior 
arrangements had been made for their coming, and a large number 
of citizens of the area were there to bid them welcome. These 
descendants of a persecuted, evangelical religious group, upon 
alighting from the train, assembled around a table in a solemn 
service of thanksgiving. Their leader. Pastor Tron, conducted a 
short devotional reading from Psalm 103 and bade them to be 
always faithful to the Lord. The service closed with a hymn and 
prayer that was frequently interrupted by the tears of the brethren 
and sisters as reported by their leader. Of the first afternoon in 
Valdese, Dr. Tron wrote: 

The arrival produced a profound emotion. In spite of the 

Years of Struggle 15 

enthusiastic reception of many warm friends, finding 
themselves thus alone in the midst of woods, far from 
their native country, impressed in an extraordinary man- 
ner the minds of the immigrants, who did not hesitate to 
bend their knees in thanks to God and invoke His favor 
for the newborn colony. To see all the bared heads and the 
weeping women and children was a scene which cannot be 
forgotten. (Watts, 22) 

This first contingent of twenty-nine individuals, who were to 
prepare the ground for the coming of many other colonists, included 
eleven men, not counting Pastor Tron, five women^ and thirteen 
children. They are listed as follows: 

Jean Giraud, 34. 

Jean Guigou, 41. Wife Catherine (nee Guigou), 31. Sons: 
Louis Philippe, 10; Etienne, 7; Alexis, 5. Daughter \ 
Naomi, 3. 

Jaubert Micol, 40. Wife Jeanne (nee Tron), 38. Sons: 
Jean, 15; Emmanuel, 7; Victor, 2. Daughter Marguerite, 

Albert Pons, 35. 

Frangois Pons, 24. 

Jean Henri Pons, 29. 

Jean Refour, 42. Son Jean, 15. 

Philippe Richard, 33. Wife Marianna Louise (nee Ribet), 
38. Sons: Philippe, 9; Etienne, 4. 

Frangois Tron, 18. Wife Marguerite (nee Garrou), 31. 

Jacques Henri Tron, 44. 

Pierre Tron, 39. Wife Louise (nee Pons), 34. Son Albert, 
5. Daughter Madeleine, 3. 

Their spiritual leader. Pastor Charles Albert Tron, had the added 
responsibility of handling the business of the settlers in the 
acquisition of property through the Morganton Land and Improve- 
ment Company. 

The responsibility was enormous for their spiritual leader, who 
did everything in his power to see that reasonably comfortable 

16 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

dwellings could be assigned to respective families. Life in the new 
world was fraught with much privation, frustration and disappoint- 
ment, but with steadfast faith and gratitude they survived despite 
all odds. 

The Waldensians, an evangelical, worshipful people, found them- 
selves without a sanctuary in which to congregate in worship, so a 
hastily constructed meeting house, located at the corner of Massel 
and Faet Streets, southwest, served the purpose. This meeting 
house also accommodated meetings relating to community affairs, 
served as a school facility for the children, a post office and a store. 
In the beginning, it was constructed primarily to provide housing 
for the expected contingent of settlers in November. 

Pastor Charles Albert Tron immediately organized the colonists' 
land transaction affairs, and on June 8, 1893, the Valdese Corpora- 
tion was chartered in the State of North Carolina. The provisions of 
this charter with all its ramifications and good intent proved 
incompatible with the highly individualistic nature of the Walden- 
sian people. (See Part II, Chapter 10 for a full explanation of the 
Valdese Corporation). 

The settlers suffered much from a lack of creature comforts in the 
early days. They sorely missed their "pain quotidien" (daily bread) 
that they were so accustomed to baking in outdoor ovens. The need 
for an oven in which to bake bread prompted the Waldensian 
women to decide on a plan to raise funds. The able-bodied women, 
with good voices, donned native Waldensian dresses, which consis- 
ted of a basic dark dress, a colorful apron, a shawl, and a white, lace- 
fluted coiffe (bonnet) with ribbon streamers. They walked to visit a 
church in Connelly Springs, three miles distant, to sing hymns in 
French and to request an offering. This plan was followed by 
another occasion at "Big Hill" church (Bollinger's Chapel), where a 
few welcome coins were added to the "oven fund." This effort was a 
success, and with the hard labor of the menfolk, the outdoor oven 
was built and the first loaves enjoyed on June 20, 1893, less than 
four weeks after arrival! This bread was considered a "benediction 
from the Lord." Later, until families could be permanently assigned 
a dwelling, this oven was utilized as a "community" oven available 
to all. We are told the oven was located on what is now Rodoret 
Street on a site east of the present post office. 

June 1893 was a month of many meetings of the colonists. Much 
information can be gleaned from the minutes of these meetings 
recorded in French by Dr. Tron^ From the meeting of June 16, 1893, 

Years of Struggle 17 

entitled "Constitution of the Colony" is recorded: 

We, the undersigned, here solemnly engage ourselves 
before God to the following constitution, which we adopt 
as the foundation for the colony after having seriously 
examined it. (1) As Christians belonging to the Walden- 
sian Family, blessed miraculously, watched over by the 
Eternal (Lord), we will strive to be witnesses to the Truth, 
by our conduct, by our words, by our actions and by our 
entire lives, (2) We will strive to leave a good impression 
on all our neighbors and on the inhabitants of this State, 
who have received us with open arms and who expect 
much of us, since they see our Church as something 
miraculous. (3) We engage ourselves to submit to the 
decisions of the Directorate, and especially to the Pastor, 
who is its President, accepting its advice and, if need be, 
its reprimand and its censure. 

Further, from the meeting of June 23, 1893, in Article 4 is a 
statement that attests to the strong ties of the colonists to their 

The colony considering that its love for the Waldensian 
Church could never diminish although separated from it 
by oceans, determines that it will always be one with the 
Mother Church, and to show its mind and desire, votes 
the following rule to have a Waldensian minister: From 
the year 1893 forward, the colony will furnish sufficient 
flour and vegetables. From 1894 on, each member to pay 
one dollar and furnish flour for bread. From 1895, two 
dollars per member. 

In essence this agreement was the pastor's salary! 

The first elected elder of the Waldensian colonists was Antoine 
Martinat, on June 26, 1893, who, along with his wife Anne Marie 
(nee Tron) and six children, joined the colonists in mid-June from 
Ogden, Utah. 

In the minutes of July 1, 1893, the locations of the church, the 
school, the presbytery (manse), the pastor's garden and the ceme- 
tery were decided: "They are to be placed on the Valdese hilltop, 120 
meters in length and 42 in width, going beside the Morganton 
Road." It was also decided that the property adjacent to the public 
buildings and the cemetery would belong to the pastor. 

18 History of the WJaldensian Presbyterian Church 

The first cemetery was located directly across from the church on 
Rodoret Street. Shortly after this first cemetery was established, 
the church cemetery was changed to its present location at Carolina 
and Praly Streets. Two children were buried in the first cemetery. 
The first was Benjamin Tron, born in 1885, died October 19, 1893, 
the son of Jacques Henri and Marianna (nee Micol) Tron. His 
death was the first in the colony, and his body was never removed 
from the first cemetery. The second burial in the first cemetery was 
that of Zeline Fanny Pons, born on June 14, 1894, died on October 
20, 1896, daughter of Albert and Jeanne (nee Pons) Pons. This 
child's body was removed to the present cemetery upon the death of 
her brother Henry (1896-1897), and both are buried in the family 
plot in the present cemetery. Records show that the second death 
was that of Henriette Marie Micol, born November 12, 1893, died 
December 14, 1893, daughter of Jaubert and Jeanne (nee Pons) 
Micol. According to Antoine Grill's genealogical record, this in- 
fant's burial was the first in the present cemetery. Mr. Grill's record 
also indicates that the first death of an adult was that of Margaret 
Barus Leger, wife of Jean Jacques Leger, on March 8, 1895. She was 
interred in the present cemetery. These facts show that the present 
cemetery location was chosen shortly after the first was designated. 

Before leaving for Italy to return to his own pastorate, on July 2, 
1893, Pastor Tron conducted a service of the Lord's Supper, 
consecration, baptism and farewell. The baptismal service was for 
the infant daughter of Antoine Martinat, who was named Amelie, 
born in Ogden, Utah, December 6, 1892, the first child of the 
colonists to be consecrated. Pastor Tron's service was concluded 
with special prayer entrusting the assembled colonists to God and 
to His care. 

During Dr. Tron's stay with the colonists, he called almost daily, 
meetings of the colony. Concerning affairs being settled, he re- 
corded all transactions from the first day. Fortunately these records 
were continued by succeeding pastors and, in the absence of a 
pastor, by the elders so that the church has an almost unbroken 
record from the beginning. Dr. Tron's records are written entirely in 
the French language, and the original record is entitled Liure des 
Proces Verbaux et des Documents se referant a la foundation de la 
Valdese Corporation. 1893-94 No. 1. (Book of Minutes and Docu- 
ments relative to the Founding of the Valdese Corporation). 

After the departure of Pastor Charles Albert Tron, the Pastor 
Enrico Vinay arrived in July 1893 to serve the colonists as their 

Years of Struggle 19 

pastor and leader. The pastor's salary of $50 per month was 
provided by the American Missionary Society of the Congregation- 
al Church, which had done considerable work in the North Carolina 
mountains. This Society also provided a small contribution for the 
schoolmaster, Michel Auguste Jahier. All this was arranged by 
Pastor Charles Albert Tron in his energetic efforts to assist the 
colonists both materially and spiritually. 

Separation of church from secular activities was difficult, and the 
two intertwined. The church was assigned the important duty of 
treasurer of the Valdese Corporation, and it also had to oversee and 
organize the public education of the Waldensian children, who were 
not conversant in the English language. 

Pastor Vinay served the colonists barely ten months. During his 
tenure, he, along with the colonists, endured arduous days in their 
superhuman effort to uphold morale in spite of many privations and 
discouragements of the parish. In August of 1893, he welcomed a 
group of Waldensians from Utah who joined the Valdese colonists, 
as well as fourteen more from the Waldensian Valleys; also, 178 
more from the Valleys in November. All in all, by the end of that 
year the colonists totaled 225. 

December 1893 was memorable for two outstanding events: the 
visit of Dr. Matteo Prochet and the celebration of the colonists' first 
Christmas in the New World. Dr. Prochet was a well-known 
individual for his dedicated services. He was twice knighted by King 
Humbert for distinguished services to the Italian Republic and was 
chairman of the Committee of Evangelization of the Waldensian 
Church. He had been sent to America to raise funds for the work of 
evangelization of the Church and to visit the colonies in North and 
South America. He arrived in Morganton on Saturday, December 
23, and was entertained in the home of Mr. Scaife. The following 
day he was taken to Valdese, where he conducted religious services. 
He was enthusiastically received. At the boundary of the colony 
lands, he was greeted by over one hundred Waldensian children 
drawn up in ranks, who sang a song of welcome as his carriage 
approached. He spent a week in Valdese, taking part in the 
Christmas celebration; examining the lands, the colony accounts, 
and the records; visiting all the families; and making plans for the 
future management of the colony. 

This first Christmas celebration in Valdese in 1893 proved a 
happy occasion. It was arranged by several women of Morganton 
and other cities. These women came to Valdese on Christmas and 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Years of Struggle 21 

New Year's Day to distribute gifts. The many donated items 
consisting of books, toys and articles of clothing were most happily 
received. Dr. Prochet, who was present at both celebrations, talked 
to the children as they came forward to receive gifts. 

The Presbyterian Church in the United States began to show an 
interest in the new movement in Valdese. In October 1893, Pastor 
Vinay attended the meeting of the Synod of North Carolina of the 
Presbyterian Church U.S., where he was introduced as a member of 
the Waldensian Synod. Pastor Vinay addressed the assemblage in 
French. This was the first official interaction between the Walden- 
sian Church in Valdese and the Presbyterian Church U.S. 

The first marriage in the parish was conducted by Pastor Vinay 
before his departure. This wedding occurred on April 29, 1894, 
uniting John Long, son of Henri Francois Long and the late 
Susanne (nee Jahier) Long, and Marguerite Gaydou, daughter of 
Marie (nee Baret) Gaydou, widow. 

In early May 1894, Pastor Vinay resigned his pastorate and left 
for California. Pastor Charles Albert Tron arrived shortly after 
Vinay's departure and remained a month assuming temporary 
presidency of the colony. He organized a Moral and a Legal Board 
and attempted to reduce the severe financial burden of the new- 
found settlement by reducing the land purchase from 10,000 to 
5,000 acres. The Legal Board, composed of nine members, three 
from Morganton and six from the colony, was in charge of the 
business affairs; the Moral Board, made up of the pastor, the elders 
and deputy members, was in charge of church affairs and also had to 
approve the financial transactions of the Legal Board. These two 
boards met frequently, separately and jointly, until their dissolution 
at the end of 1894, in conjunction with that of the Valdese 

In June 1894, the Pastor Barthelemy Soulier arrived with his 
bride Amelie (nee Vingon) to serve the colonists. First impressions 
of this young couple were reported as follows to Dr. George B. Watts 
in 1939: 

We found as a dwelling a hut of wood set upon some pieces 
of beams, made up of three rooms. Between one board and 
the next one could see daylight almost everywhere; an 
almost complete absence of furniture; the largest of our 
packing cases served as dining table, the smaller ones as 
chairs. In one corner a wooden bed, equipped only with a 
soiled mattress filled with straw, hard as wood, in which 

22 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

the mice had made their nest! One can imagine what 
comfort we could have in winter with the west wind! I 
remember that one morning (and doubtless more than 
one morning) I found a block of ice in the water pitcher, 
the loaf of fresh bread frozen, the eggs broken and frozen. 
— My pastoral duties were but little compared with all 
my other occupations; I had to serve as public secretary, 
interpreter, and very often justice of the peace. (52) 

Pastor Soulier was a man of great energy, understanding, and 
foresight. He had been trained at the Waldensian Seminary and had 
done postgraduate work in Edinburgh, Scotland. He had a thorough 
knowledge of English, and was a practical man of affairs, intensely 
in love with his mission. He soon realized that the first organization 
of the colony was an impossibility and that many changes would 
have to be made if the venture of this colonization was to succeed. 
His seven years in Burke County were years of unflinching courage, 
consecration and untiring effort. During his pastorate, it can be said 
in all candor, the foundations for the future success of the colony 
were laid. Years later Soulier wrote to Dr. Watts: 

I worked there (I can say it with complete conscientious- 
ness) with all my might and with the enthusiasm of a first 
love. I struggled much, suffered much, and received, 
thanks be to God, many satisfactions. But today my 
greatest satisfaction is that the colony finally triumphed 
over all its difficulties. My true and great reward before 
leaving this world is to know that my work has not been 
"in vain in the Lord." (53) 

Years of Struggle 


The large two-story building was built on the corner of Faet and 
Massel Streets soon after the arrival of the first colonists in May, 
1893. It was used for meetings, church services, school, store and 
post office. The earliest group of colonists spent their first night 
in the white house on the hill known as the "brick house" because 
it had a brick chimney. The small house seen between the two 
railroad signs was the first manse, built on the corner of Rodoret 
and Massel Streets. The young boy grazing his cow was Louis 
Philippe Guigou, age 11. 

Soulier spent the first few weeks in settling his house, visiting his 
parishioners, and becoming acquainted with colony affairs. He was 
not long in calling a meeting of the Moral Board. He informed the 
Board at this first meeting on July 16 that since the departure of Dr. 
Tron, the meetings of the two Boards had not been held regularly. 
He called for a joint meeting of the two Boards for July 21 and 
reminded the members that their task was a most difficult one, 
proposing a resolution that each one should exert every effort and 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 






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Years of Struggle 25 

implore help from Heaven. It was decided to hold the Sunday 
afternoon services in turn in Valdese (area centrally located), the 
Hill (Bollinger's Chapel area), and Franklin (area of Flat Gap and 
beyond), with the fourth Sunday reserved for the smaller settle- 
ments of Gardiole, Prangins and the Chapel. It was voted to hold 
one service each month in Italian. 

It was early in August 1894, when Pastor Soulier informed the 
Moral Board that he intended to use the fifty dollars allowed by the 
American Missionary Association for the pastor's salary for June to 
buy flour for the needy. On more than one occasion, Soulier 
purchased flour at his own expense and kept it in the manse to 
provide for the most desperate cases of need. It had become well 
known by September in North Carolina that the colony was in dire 
straits. The Second Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, North 
Carolina sent its pastor. Dr. Boyd, to investigate. The report to his 
congregation was that he had seen much suffering. The women of 
his church sent several large boxes of food and clothing which were 
received with much joy and happiness in Valdese. Plans for Sunday 
and day schools were made. On the thirty-first of August, the Moral 
Board announced that the colony day school would open on the 
second Monday in September in Valdese. 

Michel Auguste Jahier served as teacher of the school in Valdese, 
which was held in the public building on the corner of Massel and 
Faet Streets. His small salary was paid by the American Missionary 
Association of the Congregational Church. Jahier taught under 
great handicap due to lack of supplies with which to teach and 
conduct classes to accommodate the different ages of the children. 
To teach the little ones, he would write on the blackboard, as clearly 
as possible, words and figures they were to learn to spell and read. In 
the absence of textbooks, he would write songs, the Lord's Prayer, 
or some verses of the Bible. 

During their first year in Valdese, Pastor and Mrs. Soulier also 
assisted in the educational program. He conducted classes in 
English made up of young men and women who desired to go out 
into the public for gainful employment in other towns, and he wrote 
a letter to Secretary Ryder of the Missionary Society of the 
Congregational Church: "My seven or eight pupils give satisfac- 
tion." During the fall, Mrs. Soulier started a sewing class for all the 
girls above eight years of age. 

During the months of December, January and February, the 
colony operated a school in a one-room building which it erected 

26 History of the WJaldensian Presbyterian Church 

and equipped in Franklin, south of Valdese, near the Laurel Road. 
Antoine Grill served as master, receiving from Soulier $6 a month 
given by the treasurer of public education of Burke County. 

In addition to Pastor Soulier's multiple duties, he conducted the 
center school for four months during the school year 1894-1895. 
The "center" school we assume to be the meeting house located at 
the corner of Massel Avenue and Faet Street southwest. The 
church's affiliation with the Presbyterian Church in the United 
States in 1895 resulted in the end of assistance given by the 
American Missionary Society of the Congregational Church to the 
schools of Valdese. This end of assistance resulted in much gratis 
work by individuals qualified to teach the basics. Michel Auguste 
Jahier continued his services without pay. Others received mini- 
mum pay from church funds. Those qualified to teach, in addition 
to Pastor Soulier and Professor Jahier, were Antoine Grill, Etienne 
Perrou and Antoine Martinat. The education of the Waldensian 
children was of paramount importance in the heart of the pastor 
and of his helpers. All effort was made to teach the children despite 
the lack of facilities and the language barrier. The Waldensian 
children responded readily to instruction and were soon able to join 
the native children in public school curricula. 

From the History of the Women's Auxiliary and the Women of the 
Church by Mrs. Louis Philippe Guigou (Lillian Sweeney), we quote: 

During the year 1895, Mrs. Marguerite S. Grant, a woman 
of some means, moved to Valdese from Summit, New 
Jersey. Mrs. Grant was Italian by birth and a convert 
from the Roman Catholic Church; she was a refined, 
cultured woman. She befriended the colonists and was 
beloved by all. Her ability to converse fluently in French 
enabled her to render valuable assistance to the teachers 
and those working among the Waldensians. It was she 
who purchased the "Palmer House" which many years 
later became the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

In addition to Mrs. Grant's benevolent endeavors amiong the 
colonists, she was instrumental in establishing a small boarding 
and industrial school near Glen Alpine, North Carolina, with the 
assistance of a brother-in-law. This school was known as the Glen 
Alpine Spring School, and many Waldensian children were able to 
attend as boarding students. 

Years of Struggle 27 

Of interest also in the early history of the Waldensian Church in 
Valdese, Dr. Watts reports in The Waldenses of Valdese: 

On Sunday, April 21, 1895, the colony was visited by 
Secretary Roy of the American Missionary Association. 
His address to the congregation in English was translated 
into French by Soulier. He attended the sessions of the 
Sunday School, the morning service with communion, 
and the preaching service in the afternoon, noting that all 
services were in French, with Italian being used inter- 
changeably with it. Secretary Roy was on a tour through 
the South, where there were many missionary churches 
with workers, like Soulier and Jahier, under the commis- 
sion of the American Missionary Association of the 
Congregational Church. At this time the Valdese church 
was known as the Evangelical Waldensian Church, the 
colonists considering themselves a Waldensian congrega- 
tion in the United States. (64) 

From Ippolite Salvageot's diary dated January 1, 1895, through 
July 31, 1895, we quote: "Sunday, June 9, Fine weather. The 
congregation voted to put the Valdese church with the Presbyterian 
Church South." and on Sunday, June 30, "Fine weather. All the 
colons (French for colonists) signed to be with the Presbyterian 
Church." This was a momentous decision in the history of the 
Waldensian Church in Valdese, reached after much consideration 
and prayer. Inasmuch as the Waldensian Church has a Presbyterian 
form of organization and the Congregational Church had no 
representation in North Carolina, it was decided to unite with the 
Presbyterian Church in the United States. This was the most 
important step in the history of the church. On July 9, 1895, the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church was officially received by Con- 
cord Presbytery. The pastor's salary of $50 a month was paid for 
several years by the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions. It is 
interesting to note that the identity of the Waldensian settlers as an 
organized evangelical church group has been maintained through- 
out its history in the New World by retention of the name 
"Waldensian" with that of "Presbyterian," hence Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church. 

Ippolite Salvageot, from whose diary much information has been 
obtained, was from the Waldensian parish of Rora and, with his two 
sons, Robert and Alexandre, was among the group who came in 

28 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

November 1893. He was a widower and the only one of the colonists 
conversant in the English language. His fluency in English was a 
great asset to the colonists. He was the first Waldensian appointed 
postmaster in Valdese in 1895 by the Postmaster General of the 
United States. His diary has proved a valuable source of historical 
information about everyday experiences of the settlers. 

After the dissolution of the Valdese Corporation on January 1, 
1895, Pastor Soulier was able to devote more time to church affairs. 
His first priority was to lead the colonists in building a church. 
Early in 1895 the congregation decided to begin as soon as possible. 
It is recorded that in April 1895 an important source of revenue for 
the colonists was the work, supervised by Soulier, of getting out 
stone and sand for the future construction of a church and for the 
enlargement of the manse. By September, the monthly payroll for 
that work amounted to about thirty dollars; a day's labor was paid at 
the rate of fifty cents. Funds for paying the wages were taken from 
monies contributed by individual friends of the colony, collections 
from certain churches, and from rentals. 

Other important decisions were made in 1895 and 1896. The 
affiliation with the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 
1895 gave the Valdese church a much needed source of support from 
a nearby larger church body. Ties with the Waldensian Church of 
Italy remained strong, however, and loyalty to the Mother Church 
influenced many decisions made by the Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church for several decades. For example, in 1896, the congregation 
voted to follow the constitution of the Waldensian Church in 
regards to the examination of newly elected elders and deacons on 
matters of doctrine and conduct rather than the slightly different 
policy of the Presbyterian Church U.S. 

On December 5, 1896, the practice was begun to elect one elder 
from each of three districts. The districts were defined as follows: 
the first district, known as "Chapelle-CoUine" or "Chapel," was 
composed of all the families living south of the railroad; the second 
district, known as "Ville" or "Town," was composed of all families 
living to the left of the road that led to "Balsille" (now Laurel Street 
North), including the families in town; and the third district, known 
as "Gardiole," was composed of all the families living to the right of 
the road to "Balsille." At the congregational meeting to elect three 
elders and one deacon, voting members from each district elected a 
nominee, and the three nominees were voted on by the entire body 
of voting members. The deacon was elected at large. 

Years of Struggle 













30 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Voting members were male members of the church, twenty-one 
years of age and older who had contributed to the church according 
to their means and had notified the session of their desire to be 
voting members. A revised list showed thirty-eight voting members 
at the end of 1896. 

In December 1896, the congregation repealed an earlier decision 
to require new colonists who arrived after the dissolution of the 
Valdese Corporation to pay any specified sum of money to become 
church members. 

In 1895, the congregation had made definite plans to construct a 
church. For the next several years. Pastor Soulier traveled exten- 
sively to solicit financial assistance which resulted in a gratifying 
response. He had a detailed drawing of the plans for the church 
made by a Mr. Munsch, an architect in New York so that a chief 
mason could direct the building of the church. The work on the 
church began on December 14, 1896, with the workmen receiving 
five cents per hour. On February 17, 1897, amid solemn rejoicing 
and in the presence of many visiting dignitaries and friends from 
surrounding areas, the cornerstone was laid. The date February 17 
was chosen for this ceremony as it represents the Waldensian day of 
celebration of the issuance of the Edict of Emancipation, which 
granted to them civil and political liberty on February 17, 1848. Dr. 
Watts describes the occasion as reported to him: 

The ceremonies began in the wooden chapel with prayer 
and song. Then the assembly went, two by two, led by two 
representatives of Bethany Church, Philadelphia, Mes- 
srs. Wright and Woodrow, who bore Italian and United 
States flags, to the spot on which the church was to be 
erected. After seats had been found on stones, timbers 
and boards, the service began with prayer, Scripture 
reading, and hymns. Soulier then preached a sermon 
appropriate to the occasion, taking his text from Psalm 
XXXVII, 4-5. Wright placed the cornerstone in position. 
Within the stone were placed copies of the New Testa- 
ment in French, Italian and English; a short history of the 
colony with the names of 120 members of the church; 
several Italian and United States coins, and a photograph 
of Pastor Soulier .... The Reverend John M. Rose, Jr. 
(pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Morganton, North 
Carolina), then preached a historical sermon, stressing 
the emancipation of the Waldenses on February 17, 1848. 

Years of Struggle 31 

The choir, under the direction of Jean Jacques Leger, 
sang hymns. The exercises were then concluded by words 
of thanks by the pastor to those who had come from near 
and far, a hymn, and the benediction pronounced by 
Rose. (69-70) 

Practically all the work of construction of the church was done by 
the colonists with intermittent periods of inactivity during 1897 
and 1898. Approximately thirty-six men were employed as builders 
and helpers. The church was completed in late October 1898. 

We add this interesting note: the workers employed in the first 
major enlargement of the sanctuary in 1990-91 were amazed at the 
size of the stones and of the timbers used in the construction of the 
original building. 

Prior to the completion of the sanctuary, Watts says, 

Soulier made frequent trips to collect funds, and con- 
ducted voluminous correspondence with prospective 
givers. The unpublished "Memoirs" of Hippolite Sal- 
vageot contain many references to the Pastor^s visits for 
this purpose: to Morganton, Davidson College, Moores- 
ville, Newton, Connelly Springs, North Carolina; to 
Richmond, Virginia; and to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 
where he and Mrs. Soulier spent several months from 
November 2, 1898, during which time he traveled also to 
Ohio and Michigan. On March 30, 1899, Mrs. Soulier 
returned to Valdese with an infant son. Soulier was again 
in his pulpit April 16 and recounted his experiences as 
collector. (71) 

According to Dr. Watts, 

It was several months after the completion of the church 
that it could be furnished. Many of the furnishings, 
several of which were gifts, were made in North Carolina. 
The doors were apparently made in Valdese by the local 
carpenters. The windows were manufactured in Hickory 
and arrived in Valdese on September 8, 1898. The pews, 
which were a gift of the Brigham family of East Orange, 
New Jersey, were made in High Point. Mr. Snow of the 
Snow Lumber Company of High Point presented the 
pulpit. Scaife gave 200 books. A Mrs. Green of Baltimore 
furnished a communion table. William Wright of the 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Seated L-R: Marie Pons (Jean) Refour, Susanne Pons (Jean) 
Pascal, Adele Bouchard (baby), Henriette Perrou (Etienne) 
Bouchard, Cesarine Jahier (Henri F.) Long. Standing L-R: 
Marguerite Grill (Antoine) Grill, Louise Pons (Jean Henri) 


JULY 4, 1899 

Years of Struggle 33 

Bethany Church, Philadelphia, gave $85 for the bell, 
which reached Valdese on August 14, 1899, and was hung 
in the steeple on the following September 11. William E. 
Dodge of New York sent $100 and a French Bible. A Mrs. 
Atkinson of Atlantic City, New Jersey, supplied a com- 
munion service, made up of a silver tankard and two silver 
goblets. (74-75) 

Other items donated are preserved in the historical collection of 
the church. Among the items is a "coffin robe," or throw, used to 
cover the crude pine boxes for the dead as they were hauled in farm 
wagons or ox carts to the cemetery. The robe is made of heavy black 
broadcloth, bound with a silver cord. It has a large "W" embroi- 
dered in white in one corner and a "C" in another. It is thought that 
these initials stand for "Waldensian Church." There is no record of 
the donor or number of times it was used. 

Quoting from Dr. Watts' book: "To the Synod of North Carolina 
in 1899, the pastor reported that the church 'cost nearly $5,000.' 
According to Salvageot's 'Memoirs,' however, Soulier announced to 
the congregation on June 3, 1900, that 'it cost altogether about 
$6,000' " (75). 

The new church building of Romanesque architecture was com- 
pleted after many hours of contributed hard labor. The Waldenses 
chose their adopted country's day of celebration of independence 
from British rule as the date appropriate for the dedication of their 
church. This event took place on July 4, 1899 before an assemblage 
from neighboring towns who had come by train, on foot, on 
horseback, and in carriages. The church was filled when the six 
pastors who were to take part in the ceremony of dedication arrived 
and were seated on the platform. After congregational singing in 
English led by a Waldensian quartet, Soulier pronounced the 
invocation. The choir, directed by Jean Jacques Leger and accom- 
panied by one of the teachers. Miss Abbott, rendered a hymn. After 
reading of Scripture, the pastor placed a Bible upon the pulpit. This 
Bible was a gift from a Mrs. Miller of Newark, New Jersey. The 
Reverend John M. Rose, Jr. offered the dedicatory prayer. Soulier 
preached in French and in English. Other pastors followed with 
laudatory remarks for the Waldensians of North Carolina and of 
the Waldensian Valleys. Between the remarks of the visiting 
ministers, there were selections by the school children who sang in 

On the happy occasion of the dedication, among the six visiting 

34 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

pastors was the Reverend James Alston Ramsay, pastor of the 
Presbyterian Church of Hickory, North CaroUna, who was also 
Moderator of Concord Presbytery. In addition to addressing the 
congregation, he presented to the Waldenses an American flag. Also 
of note, the Reverend Ramsay's son, Julius McNutt Ramsay, Sr., 
who years later became a resident of Valdese and a member of the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church, was the first non-Waldensian 
elected elder of the church in 1935. 

After the dedication of the completed church. Pastor Soulier 
remained in Valdese one more year. He resigned on June 3, 1900 at a 
meeting at which he reported that the church debt was paid in full. 
He was officially transferred from Concord Presbytery to the 
Waldensian Church of Italy on July 31, 1900. The resignation of the 
colonists' devoted pastor was accepted with much sorrow. Pastor 
and Mrs. Soulier proved they were admirably dedicated to their 
calling. In addition to their devotion to the colonists in their 
difficult beginning years of adjustment and privation, they, too, 
suffered great personal loss in the untimely deaths of their two 
infant sons: William David in 1897, and Willie D. in 1899. Both are 
buried in the Waldensian cemetery. 

Pastor Soulier's farewell sermon was preached on September 16, 
1900. He recommended to the grace of God the colonists and his 
successor. It is recorded that on September 19 the congregation met 
for the last time under his direction. He addressed to his flock "a 
warm and touching appeal, in which he exhorted it to follow the 
Good Shepherd." (Watts, 76). Expressions of gratitude were given 
for the services of Mr. and Mrs. Soulier. A Waldensian wrote to the 
editor of L'Echo des Vallees Vaudoises: 

Almost the entire colony was present at these two ser- 
vices .... On the day of departure, September 20, 1900, a 
farewell dinner, that was attended by practically every 
head of a family, was given in Soulier's honor. Many 
toasts were offered. The wine which "rejoiced the hearts 
of the diners" was made from the grapes harvested by the 
colonists. After the dinner all accompanied Soulier to the 
schoolroom to await the five o'clock train. His last official 
act was the balancing of the account books and the 
turning over to the elders the sum of forty-three dollars. 
An eyewitness wrote: "The hour approaches. Mr. Soulier 
gives to each male a farewell kiss. To the women he gives a 
hearty hand-shake. Mr. Soulier is very much moved. 

Years of Struggle 35 

Tears moisten and redden his eyes. I notice that many 
men and women also have tears which flow along their 
cheeks. Some are weeping bitterly .... Mr. Barthelemy 
Soulier will not forget the twentieth of September, the 
affectionate demonstration of the Waldensian colonists 
of North Carolina, the touching farewells and the loving 
wishes of the crowd which represented the whole colony." 
(Watts, 77) 

This touching expression of affection, esteem and respect was a 
sincere tribute to the departing leader and pastor who strove to do 
his duty; by his energy, his perseverance, and his patience, he was 
able to disentangle the material affairs of the colony and to erect 
such a beautiful church for the colonists of Valdese, North Carolina. 
At a meeting of the Synod of North Carolina on November 13, 
1900, the following tribute was paid to Pastor Soulier: "The colony 
has been greatly blessed under the efficient management and 
ministry of Brother Soulier. The people now have a beautiful house 
of worship completed and entirely free from debt." The services of 
this dedicated pastor left their mark on Valdese for all time to come. 

' All the five women in this group were expectant mothers and gave birth to the 
following children: 

Charles Guigou, born August 13, 1893; died 1964. Son of Jean and Catherine 
(Guigou) Guigou. 

Scafe Henry Tron, born August 15, 1893; died August 10, 1894. Son of Pierre and 
Louise (Pons) Tron. 

Frank W. Richard, born August 28, 1893. Son of Philippe and Marianna (Ribet) 

Henriette Marie Micol, bom November 12, 1893; died December 14, 1893. 
Daughter of Jaubert and Jeanne (Pons) Micol. 

Marguerite Junine Tron, bom January 21, 1894; died July 4, 1991. Daughter of 
Francois and Marguerite (Garrou) Tron. 

^The translation of the church minutes quoted in this work was done by 
W.W. Kibler (No. 1) and Dr. Cathy R. Pons, Professor of French at Indiana 
University, (No. 2) 1987. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

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The Best of Two Worlds 

'In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto 
an holy temple in the Lord. " Ephesians 2:21 

The congregation begins the process of 
Americanization while still remembering their 
beginnings and the teachings of their fathers. 

The departure of Pastor Soulier marked the end of the period of 
greatest hardship and struggle for survival in the Waldensian 
Colony. Some of the colonists had left Valdese to find better 
economic opportunities elsewhere, but the majority had remained 
and had established themselves on the land they labored to 
purchase. The town began to grow. The church had been built in the 
heart of the village. 

The turn of the century signaled the beginning of a time of 
building on the foundation laid in the early years. The new church 
gave a more worshipful atmosphere to church services and provided 
space for more church activities. The organization and leadership of 
the church was strengthened. Financial resources were still meager, 
but strong efforts were made to build up the church treasury. 

Recorded minutes of church meetings are not available from July 
1899 to January 1901. It was during this time, however, that 
discussion began concerning the sale of the lots which had been 
appropriated to the church at the time of the dissolution of the 
Valdese Corporation. It was difficult for the church members to 
agree on the terms of sale. In his "Memoirs," Ippolite Salvageot 
stated on March 4, 1900, that "Mr. Soulier and Mr. Garrou (Jean, 
pere) resigned as trustees for the church lots, and Jaubert Micol 
resigned as Deacon." Then Salvageot added on March 31, "Thurs- 
day night, a meeting was held here, about one dozen Waldensians, 
concerning the lots of Valdese. No arrangement could be made. For 
the present they are to be left as it is now, that is to say, for pasture 
and going to decay. This is a regular shame for the people of the 

38 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 


There was an unsuccessful attempt to elect two new trustees on 
Sunday, July 1, 1900, It was not until early 1901, after Pastor 
Garrou's arrival, that these lots began to be sold and the church 
treasury was built up as a result. In the meantime, some money 
continued to be raised from these lots by renting them for grazing 
and by selling the wood. 

Pastor Henri Garrou arrived from Italy on December 19, 1900. 
Rejoined other family members who had arrived in 1893: his father, 
Jean Garrou (pere) and his brothers, Jean (Bobo) Garrou and 
Frangois Garrou. His arrival coincided with the festive Christmas 
celebration at the church. Under the leadership of Mrs. Marguerite 
Grant and two missionary teachers. Miss Knox and Miss LeDuc, 
the children presented a program of recitations and songs in 
French, Italian, and English. 

Pastor Garrou found the colony in good condition. In a letter to 
Dr. Prochet, whose last visit to Valdese had been in 1894, he wrote: 

Almost all the colonists have houses with the first floor of 
stone and the rest of wood. They have acquired a real 
talent in the art of house building .... All or almost all 
have fifteen or twenty acres under cultivation .... There 
are some fine vineyards . , , . They have harvested wheat 
and Indian corn in quantities sufficient for their needs. 
The greatest difficulty is the lack of trade. To offset this, 
the young people have to leave the colony to go to various 
southern cities and even to New York. Things are going 
well in the church. The services are attended with great 
regularity. (Watts, 78-79) 

Pastor Garrou also noted that many families who had lived on 
mountain farms had moved nearer to the center so that the colony 
was more unified. 

The first congregational meeting under Pastor Garrou's direction 
was held on January 20, 1901. At that meeting, two elders were 
elected, Henri Long from the "Chapel" district and Henri Vinay 
from the "Town" district. Antoine Grill was elected deacon. Jean 
Henri Pascal from the "Gardiole" district was also serving as elder 
at this time. 

At the annual congregational meeting on June 2, 1901, the report 
was given of the sale of four acres of the church land to the owners of 
the Waldensian Hosiery Mill for $40. The owners were Jean (Bobo) 

Building on the Foundation 39 

Garrou, Francois Garrou, and Antoine Grill. Cash on hand in the 
church treasury was then $122.62. 

Following the sale of this land to the hosiery mill, the church lots 
were sold rapidly from 1901 through 1903. The lots were numbered, 
and the name of the buyer of each lot and the amount paid are 
recorded in the church minutes. The first lots were all sold for $20 
each, but later lots were auctioned, with the lowest bid usually set 
for $20. Some of the property sold for only $50 for three lots, while 
other lots were sold for as much as $35 each. It is understandable 
that there was bickering and jealousy among the colonists as they 
vied for the purchase of these valuable town lots. In February 1902, 
a dispute over the responsibilities of the trustees and the session in 
the sale of the lots led to the resignation of both trustees. Later the 
same year, a disagreement between two elders caused them both to 
resign. In a few weeks, the only remaining elder resigned, leaving 
the church with no elders for a short period of time. 

In spite of the difficulties, the work of the church went on with 
regular worship services, Sunday School, day school, classes for 
catechumens, and additions to the church membership. In his 
"Memoirs," Ippolite Salvageot wrote on February 17, 1903, "A 
grand dinner took place at the School House, about 40 Waldensians 
present, today being the 55th anniversary of the Emancipation of 
the Waldensians of Italy. The dinner cost about fifty cents each." 
This was the first record made of a February 17 dinner, a tradition 
that continues to the present day. 

During his brief pastorate. Pastor Garrou did not represent the 
church of Valdese at the sessions of the Synod of North Carolina. 
He had been admitted to Concord Presbytery from the Waldensian 
Church of Italy on April 16, 1902. In the Annual report to the 
Presbytery for that year, it is recorded: 

Rev. H. Garrou has charge of the important and encour- 
aging work at Valdese. The colony of Waldensians is in a 
prosperous condition. Two services are conducted each 
Sunday, and regular Wednesday evening prayer meeting 
is observed. A good day school is taught by teachers 
provided by the Northern Presbyterian Church. There 
have been ten additions to the church during the last year. 
Brother Garrou writes: "The Waldensians find their best 
pleasure in their church and they wish to express all their 
gratitude to the many friends in North Carolina who 
helped them so kindly in the support of their pastor. Be 

40 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

yourself our interpreter and tell all our friends that we are 
not ungrateful to those who love us." (Watts, 82) 

At the congregational meeting on May 31, 1903, Pastor Garrou 
announced his resignation to accept a position at McDonald, 
Pennsylvania. According to Salvageot, Pastor Garrou's farewell 
sermon was on Sunday, June 21. He later visited Valdese and served 
as preacher on several occasions when the pulpit was vacant. 

In the months following the departure of Pastor Garrou, the work 
of the church, both spiritual and secular, was carried on by Elders 
Henri Long and J. Henry Pascal (Bienvenue) and Deacon Antoine 
Grill. They led the Sunday services and continued the sale of the 
church lots. The practice of lending varying sums of money to 
church members at 5% annual interest was common at this time as 
another means to earn money for the church treasury. 

The search for a replacement for Pastor Garrou was hindered by 
the small yearly salary of $400, paid in full by the Committee of 
Synodical Home Missions. In the first two years of the colony, a 
pastor's salary of $600 and a small salary for teacher Michel 
Auguste Jahier had been paid by the Congregational Church. The 
Presbyterian Church in the United States continued to pay the 
same amount for the pastor's salary after the affiliation with that 
denomination in 1895. By 1903, the salary had been reduced to 
$400. A congregational meeting was held on August 2 to find a 
means to augment the salary. It was decided to collect a voluntary 
contribution among those present, with a minimum contribution of 
$2. A sum of $70.75 was collected from thirty-one donors. The name 
of each contributor and the amount given are recorded in the 
minutes of the meeting. 


From as early as 1894, the Waldensian colony in Valdese was 
fortunate to have several dedicated women to come to Valdese to 
teach the children and give other assistance. The first was Miss J.C. 
Palmer, an elderly lady of means and education from Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania. She remained in the colony until March 1901, 
teaching the children and giving aid and advice to the women. 
Another woman of influence, Mrs. Marguerite S. Grant, came from 
Summit, New Jersey, in 1895. She was a talented lady of Italian 
extraction who spoke both English and French. She remained until 
early 1915. 

Building on the Foundation 41 

Beginning with the school year 1896-1897, The Woman's Board 
of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America 
(Northern) sent missionary teachers to conduct a day school for the 
children of the colony. These young women served under difficult 
circumstances. They were poorly housed, lacked adequate teaching 
facilities, and had to overcome language and cultural differences. 
Their invaluable service in the early struggling years of the colony 
continued until 1905. 


The Waldensian Presbyterian Church owes a great debt of 
gratitude to Mrs. Louis Philippe Guigou (Lillian Sweeney) for her 
long service as historian of the Women of the Church. Her History 
of the Women's Auxiliary and the Women of the Church gives a 
wealth of information about the history of the church not found in 
other sources. In the early years, records of the women's activities 
were not kept, except as sometimes mentioned in the session 
minutes. Mrs. Guigou devoted countless hours collecting material 
from diaries, news print, and personal contacts to write her account 
of the history. 

Although women did not have active leadership roles in the 
church in the early years of the colony, they served as a guiding 
influence in the material growth and spiritual development of the 
church. Only the bedrock of deep spiritual strength acquired in 
childhood in the churches in the Waldensian Valleys made it 
possible for these women to endure the endless toil, the deprivation 
and the lonely harshness of this new land. Weekly worship provided 
the sole opportunity for spiritual nourishment and social interac- 

As time went by, the wives of the early pastors, namely Mrs. 
Barthelemy Soulier, Mrs. Filippo Ghigo and Mrs. Emile Henri 
Tron, gathered the women in groups for prayer, sewing and English 

On November 28, 1903, Filippo Enrico Ghigo arrived from 
Canada to become pastor in Valdese. He was born in Prali, Italy, and 
educated at the Waldensian Theological Seminary in Florence and 
at the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig. After two years as a 
missionary in Switzerland, he served as pastor of Waldensian 
churches in Uruguay and Argentina. Shortly after going to Canada, 
he was persuaded by Dr. Prochet to come to Valdese. He preached 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

his first sermon on December 6, 1903. 

Pastor Ghigo's work was hindered somewhat by his poor health. 
The annual spring congregational meeting had to be postponed 
until October 2, 1904. He was able, however, to provide strong 
leadership for a full church program, which included two Sunday 
services, Sunday School, mid-week prayer service, and the Chris- 
tian Union for the young people. 

In her history of the women of the church, Mrs. Lillian Guigou 
states that the foundation for the women's work was laid by Pastor 
Ghigo and his capable wife Juliette. There were prayer services and 
sewing classes for the women. Interest in the education of the 
children led the women to begin collecting funds for a much-needed 
school building. Much of Pastor Ghigo's time was spent in acquiring 
funds to build this proposed school on church property. The school 
fund grew to $444.59. The fund became unnecessary when the 
Burke County Board of Education undertook the building of the 
school on a plot of land directly east of the church. The land for the 
school was conveyed to Burke County on December 27, 1905. Three 
hundred dollars of the school fund was given to Burke County, and 


Building on the Foundation 43 

the remainder was transferred to the church treasury in 1910. The 
two-room school house, which had been enlarged to six classrooms 
by 1923, was vacated at the opening of the new Valdese High School 
that year (the building now known as the Old Rock School). 

On May 30, 1894, the Valdese Corporation had agreed to deed a 
lot across from the church to Miss Palmer. She contracted to have 
built a two-story, five-room frame house. At her death in 1903, she 
left the house to the Presbyterian (U.S.A.) Board of Home 
Missions. In 1905, the congregation of the Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church unanimously authorized the session to buy Miss Palmer^s 
house for $300, without specifying at that time for what purpose the 
house would be used. The church sold the house the next year to 
Mrs. Marguerite Grant. In 1917, the church purchased the house 
again to be used for the manse. This second manse was located on 
the site of the present museum. The original manse, one of the 
earliest houses built in Valdese, faced the railroad on the corner of 
Massel and Rodoret Streets. 

Although its affiliation with the Presbyterian Church, U.S. was 
successful and beneficial, the Valdese church still maintained 
strong ties to the Mother Church in Italy. Pastors were secured 
from the Waldensian Church, and its traditions and regulations 
were observed. At the congregational meeting on May 28, 1905, the 
congregation voted by a great majority to follow the new regulations 
of the Waldensian Church. Elder Henri Long opposed the decision 
and resigned from the session. 

At the annual congregational meeting a year later on May 27, 
1906, Elder Henri Pascal read a letter from Dr. Prochet asking the 
church members to increase their contribution to the pastor's 
salary. The results of this appeal are not recorded. The small salary 
no doubt influenced Pastor Ghigo to resign that year to go to 
Scranton, Pennsylvania. 

Pastor Filippo Ghigo was succeeded in early 1907 by Pastor John 
Pons, a native of Massel, Italy, and brother of Albert Pons, one of 
the first arrivals in the colony. Pastor Pons was educated at the 
Waldensian Seminary of Florence and had held pastorates in 
Rodoret, Elba and Sardinia before coming to Valdese. During his 
pastorate, the Valdese church grew to forty-eight voting members. 

Efforts were made to encourage church members to contribute to 
the pastor's salary. Several men were designated as collectors. In 
1908, the sum of $110 was collected to add to the $300 given at this 
time by the North Carolina Synod's Committee of Home Missions. 

44 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

In January, 1909, the cemetery was enclosed with a fence. 
Payment for the fence was made from a cemetery fund and by an 
assessment of $.75 from each owner of a plot. At about the same 
time, a pump was installed in the church well. 

In 1909, Pastor Pons married Miss Lydia Jacumin, the daughter 
of Jean Jacques Jacumin and Virginie (nee Peyronel), who had 
arrived in November, 1893. The newlyweds left immediately after 
their wedding to go to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Pastor Pons 
began a new pastorate. 

From the departure of Pastor John Pons on October 28, 1909, 
until December 12, 1913, the Waldensian Presbyterian Church was 
without a regular pastor. The small salary offered was the principal 
reason that the search for a pastor was unsuccessful for so long. 
Elders of the church preached the Sunday morning sermons when 
no minister was available. Among those who preached often were 
Jean Henri Pascal (Bienvenue) and Jean Henri Pascal (Gardiole). 
Morning worship was held every Sunday in spite of the lack of a 
regular pastor. The elders taught classes for catechumens as well, 
and these young people became church members. 

Mrs. Peter Meytre (Margaret Pascal), who was a young girl at the 
time, recalls that the years the congregation had no pastor were 
hard for everyone. Sunday school classes for the children of various 
ages were held in different areas of the sanctuary, each class having 
its own teacher. French was used in Sunday school, and the children 
were expected to recite a new Bible verse in French each week. The 
Sunday School assembly began and ended with a Waldensian hymn 
and a prayer. Christian Union meetings, which were in English, 
were held on Sunday evenings for the young people. 

Mrs. Meytre describes the road leading to town (from Gardiole) 
as being filled with children going to church on Sundays. "We were 
so happy together," she remembers. The adults did not attend 
Sunday School as a rule but went to morning worship. The children 
returned home after Sunday School to do chores and to finish 
preparing the noon meal. The church bell rang three times on 
Sunday mornings — once for Sunday School, once to begin morning 
worship, and again at the end of the service. Mrs. Meytre says that 
when the children at home heard the last tolling of the bell, they 
knew it was time to begin cooking the potatoes for Sunday dinner, 
to be ready when the parents arrived from church. 

In the early days of the church, some of the men with fine voices 
led the singing without instrumental accompaniment. Later Mrs. 

Building on the Foundation 45 

Marguerite Grant and the other missionary teachers who had 
musical training served as directors and accompanists. An organ 
with foot pedals was used for many years, and later an organ that 
could be pumped by hand was substituted. About 1909, a French 
choir was organized with Mrs. Henri F. Martinat (Bertha Stratton) 
at the organ. 

The four years without a pastor were probably the most difficult 
in the history of the church. Discouragement and disunity grew as 
time went by. The regular program of the church was carried on, 
however, through the dedication of the session made up of Elders 
Jean Henri Pascal (Balsille), Henri Martinat (Pineburr), and Jean 
Henri Pascal (Bienvenue), and Deacons Antoine Grill and Jean 
Louis Garrou. These men did not waiver in their faithfulness 
throughout this trying period. 

The services of several ministers were available for short periods 
of time, and the administration of the sacraments and ordination of 
church officers were planned accordingly. The Reverend Dugald 
Munroe, pastor of the Presbyterian churches in Glen Alpine and 
Marion, supplied the Valdese church for several weeks in the spring 
of 1910. Former Pastor Henri Garrou installed the officers named 
above on July 17, 1910 during a visit to Valdese. They were the first 
church officers elected at large and not by district, for a term of five 
years. In 1911, the church was supplied for a few weeks by former 
pastors Ghigo and Pons. Also in June, July, and August 1912, 
Pastor Ghigo preached regularly, and Pastor Pons occupied the 
pulpit in January 1913. Dr. C.A. Munroe of Hickory, Superinten- 
dent of Home Missions, preached frequently in Valdese during 
these years when there was no pastor. Small sums were paid to these 
ministers for their services. 

Meanwhile the search for a pastor went on. On August 28, 1910, 
the congregation voted to contribute $300 to add to the $300 
received from the Committee of Home Missions. A subscription list 
was started, and $145 was raised on the spot. At this meeting, the 
decision was made to sell the tract of land known as the "Pastor's 
Farm," which was located between Praly Street, Morganton Road, 
the Page farm, the Southern Railroad, and the land belonging to the 
hosiery mill. 

The voting members met on February 5, 1911 to elect a pastor. A 
call was extended to Pastor Pierre Chauvie of the Waldensian 
Church of Rio Marina, Island of Elba. He refused the call. On 
December 10, 1911, the voting members decided to call Pastor RE. 

46 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

Monnet of Cleveland, Ohio, who also declined to accept. 

The discouragement felt by the church members was openly 
expressed at the annual congregational meeting on June 2, 1912. 
Quoting from Dr. Cathy R. Pons' translation of the French minutes: 

. . . the spiritual life the church is very close to being 
extinguished for lack of a minister, which would be most 
regrettable .... Mr. J.H. Pascal of La Gardiole said that 
he felt he voiced the feelings of all the church, and 
thanked the members of the session for all their efforts, 
particularly as concerned the Sunday School, the catech- 
ism, and the regular worship service each Sunday. The 
Moderator responded for the session, saying that the 
session members sustained themselves by remembering 
the words of Jesus Christ, "When you have accomplished 
all that is in your power, consider yourselves still as 
humble servants." He added that the members of the 
session appreciated greatly the congregation's expres- 
sions of affection and encouragement. 

The Moderator was not clearly identified here, but most likely was 
J. Henri Pascal (Bienvenue), who usually served as Moderator and 
spiritual leader during this time. 

At this same meeting, the congregation decided to send a letter to 
the Venerable Table of the Waldensian Church in Italy, asking that 
body to send a pastor soon, one who would be able to speak French 
and English. Almost five months later, no response had been 
received to several letters and a petition signed by the church 
members. Disappointed and frustrated, the session decided to make 
a last appeal to the Table on October 20, 1912. 

An incident in March 1913 clearly showed the disunity resulting 
from the lack of a leader's influence. Elders Henri Martinat 
(Pineburr) and Jean Henri Pascal (Balsille) resigned because the 
session had received an anonymous letter postmarked Connelly 
Springs, "full of insolence and scorn." The writer soon revealed his 
identity; consequently, on March 30, 1913, Henri Martinat was re- 
elected elder. Jean Henri Pascal (Gardiole) was elected elder for the 
remaining vacancy. 

Finally, on March 30, 1913, the congregation met to hear a letter 
the session had received from the Venerable Table. The Table 
demanded that the church guarantee the pastor a salary of $600 a 
year and $80 for travel expenses from Italy. The congregation 

Building on the Foundation 47 

approved the demands. At a session meeting the following day, the 
travel allowance was increased to $100. The minutes of these two 
meetings reflect a sense of relief and joy at the prospect of finally 
having a pastor. 

In addition to directing a regular church program during the four 
years without a spiritual leader, the session managed the business 
affairs of the church. It met frequently, often two or three times a 
month, as the need arose. Congregational meetings were held 
several times a year. Careful minutes were kept of these meetings. 

After the decision was made in 1910 to sell the tract of land on the 
west side of town known as the "Pastor's Farm," the session 
auctioned off the wood on the land. No part of the land was actually 
sold until late 1913. On December 8, 1913, the church sold to a Mr. 
Upchurch of Morganton ten acres of the farm along the railroad at 
$40 an acre to build a cotton mill. This $400 brought the total in the 
church treasury to nearly $2,000. The cotton mill later became 
Valdese Manufacturing Company. 

In October 1911, a committee was given the responsibility of 
making needed repairs to the manse. Improvements were also made 
to the cemetery, especially in cleaning the grounds, improving the 
roads, and adding a gate to the west entrance. In the October 29, 
1911 session minutes is found the first record of contributions to 
benevolent causes of the Presbyterian Church — $5 for Presbytery 
Home Missions, $4 for North Carolina Synod Home Missions, and 
$3 for the Orphans' Home (Barium Springs). Each year thereafter, 
regular contributions were sent from the church treasury. Financial 
assistance also was given to church families in need. Several loans 
of money from the church treasury were made to church members. 

On October 23, 1913, Moderator Leger of the Waldensian Church 
in Italy wrote to Elder J. Henri Pascal that a pastor had been 
secured for the church in Valdese. The congregation met on 
November 16 to plan a means to raise the $300 required to pay the 
pastor. A voluntary pledge was instituted, with $200 pledged at the 
meeting. It was decided to take the remaining $100 from the church 

Pastor Emile Henri Tron and his young wife arrived in Valdese on 
December 10, 1913. Pastor Tron was born in Massel, Italy. Edu- 
cated at the Waldensian Seminary and in Edinburgh, Scotland, he 
was ordained in Torre Pellice, Italy, on September 4, 1911. He had 
served as assistant pastor in Palermo and Naples and as aide to 
Pastor E. Comba in Rome. 

48 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

The session met with Pastor Tron for the first time on December 
12, 1913. The minutes of that meeting state: 

Each member gave thanks to God and to the administra- 
tors of the Waldensian Church and a heartfelt welcome to 
our pastor. Pastor Tron thanked the session for having 
conducted services every Sunday during the four years 
that this church remained without a pastor, praising the 
session and the church for not having abandoned the 
worship services and for having continued the Sunday 
School without interruption. Pastor Tron said that all 
this had greatly influenced his decision to come and serve 
this church. 

The coming of Pastor Tron and his wife brought great joy to the 
congregation as Pastor Tron quickly assumed the spiritual leader- 
ship of the church. Wednesday evening prayer services and the 
Christian Union were resumed. A special service was held in the 
church on February 17, 1914, to commemorate the 1848 Edict of 
Emancipation. Pastor Tron possessed a jovial personality which 
attracted the church members and children. His pastorate was one 
of warmth and friendship with the congregation. 

On March 9, 1914, the session divided the remainder of the 
"Pastor's Farm" into lots, planned the streets, and gave the streets 
names. All the lots were to be sold, except for three lots which were 
to remain church property. At a public auction on April 18, 1914, the 
session directed the sale of the lots for varying sums, generally 
between $100 and $175. The lots were paid for largely in cash so that 
by July 1 a sum of nearly $1,700 had been added to the church 

In the summer of 1914, the first renovation of the church since it 
was completed in 1899 was begun. It was necessary to lay a new 
floor, raise it about two feet, and install vents for air circulation. 
The ceiling was stained with oak stain, and the interior and exterior 
walls were white washed. The pews were treated with crude oil. A 
coal-burning stove was purchased. A special fund was collected to 
install gas lighting. Each member was to contribute $1 or one day's 
labor to the cost of renovation. With free labor, the sale of old 
flooring, and contributions, the renovations cost less than $400. 
The work was completed in early 1915. The financial situation of 
the church had improved greatly. After payment of all the bills for 
repairs of the church, over $3,300 remained in the church treasury. 

Building on the Foundation 

Mr. Francois Parise with his mule removing dirt from inside the 
church when the floor was raised in 1914. 

50 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

The three years of Pastor Tron's stay were marked by change and 
growth. In December 1914, the Valdese church voted to adopt 
changes in Hturgy recommended by the Waldensian Church in Italy. 
One change called for silent individual confession of sins and 
singing after group confession. This practice was discontinued after 
several months. The decision was also made to take up offerings in 
the pews rather than at the door, as was the custom. At the 
congregational meeting on May 30, 1915, the Every Member 
Canvass proposed by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church was approved. These last two changes were not actually put 
into practice for several years. 

Efforts were made to encourage members who were continually 
absent to attend worship services. Those who continued to be 
absent after repeated invitations were removed from the list of 
voting members. The revised roll included forty-nine voting mem- 
bers at the end of 1914. By 1916, the church had grown to fifty-six 
voting members and 169 total communicants. That year $151 was 
contributed to benevolent causes of the Presbyterian Church by the 
church and Sunday School. 

On April 2, 1916, Pastor Tron informed the session that he had 
been called to serve in the Italian Army. He submitted his resigna- 
tion on April 9. Before his departure, he actively assisted the session 
in securing Pastor Filippo Enrico Ghigo as pastor for the church. 

Pastor Filippo Enrico Ghigo arrived in Valdese on June 7, 1916 to 
begin his second pastorate of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church. 
During his brief term of service, the church raised several sums of 
money for causes of the Mother Church in Italy. The women became 
more active; in the World War I years of 1916-1917, many engaged in 
knitting for the Red Cross. A bazaar was held in 1917 in connection 
with the February 17 Celebration. This event raised $200, which the 
women sent to Italy for the orphanage at Torre Pellice and for the 
Waldensian Committee for Assistance of the Military. The Women's 
Bazaar was an annual event for a number of years and made it 
possible for the women to give to causes of their choice. 

By 1917, the church had increased its contribution to the pastor's 
salary to $325. Over $300 was given that year to benevolences of the 
Presbyterian Church. 

After June 17, 1917, no minutes were recorded for the remainder 
of the year. Pastor Ghigo's illness worsened, and he died in an 
Asheville hospital on December 16, 1917. His widow Juliette and 
children Anita and Francis continued to live in Valdese. 

Building on the Foundation 



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History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

(Note the Long Center Pews) 
L-R: Anita Micol, Marianne Garrou, Janie Ribet, Marianne 
Bounous, and Rev. and Mrs. Emile Tron 

Group enjoys games in picnic area above McGalliard Falls 

Building on the Foundation 


Pastor Emile Henri Tron and wife, Laura Vigliano Tron on porch 

This house was built in 1894 by Miss J.C. Palmer, later sold in 
1903 to Mrs. Marguerite S. Grant. Sold to Waldensian Presby- 
terian Church in 1917 to serve as manse. 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^rian Church 

Standing L-R: Mrs. Emile H. Tron, Henriette Adelaide Ribet, 
Rachel Perrou, Zeline Fanny Pons, Alice Micol, Cesarine Ribet, 
Reverend Emile H. Iron, Jean Henri Pascal (Bien venue). Seated 
L-R: John Henry Pascal, Frederick Ribet, Henri Philippe Mar- 
tinat, Jean Henri Pascal (La Gardiole). 

Standing L-R: Silvio Martinat, Christine Mourglia, Benjamin 
Grill, Marguerite Louise Pascal, Emma Marguerite Pascal, Mary 
Martinat, Madeleine Grill, Mary Louise Refour, Reverend Emile 
H. Tron, Henri Evret Guigou. Seated L-R: Lena Juliette Sal- 
vageot, Nelle Louise Garrou, Louise Gaydou, Mary Louise Tron, 
William (Willie) Emmanuel Garrou. 


Customs to American Presbyterianism 


"For the priesthood being changed, there is made of 
necessity a change also of the law. " Hebrews 7:12 

The years of struggle to accept and adapt to the Presbyterian 
system; the first American minister is called. 

On January 27, 1918, the Rev. John Pons, who was serving in 
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was called to begin his second term as 
pastor. Rev. Pons was one of the most loved ministers. He served 
the church for two pastorates and then served as supply pastor on 
numerous occasions. Later the Rev. Pons preached the French 
service when the church no longer had French-speaking ministers. 
He was a responsible business and civic leader as well. During his 
second pastorate, much progress was made. 

It was voted at a church assembly on June 2, 1918 to increase the 
pastor's salary from $625 to $700 per year effective June 1, 1918. At 
this meeting, it was recommended that the youth begin singing in 
the church choir, which led to the establishment of a youth choir. 
Pastor Pons volunteered to practice with them on Saturdays, and 
Miss Anita Ghigo volunteered to play the piano. 

During World War I, seventeen sons of the colony served in the 
armed forces of the United States. 

In July 1918, the three remaining lots of the "Pastor's Farm" were 
sold. On February 8, 1919, the stone quarry on the "Pastof s Farm" 
with two acres of land was put up for auction. At $473, Valdese 
Manufacturing Company was the successful bidder for the property. 

On March 8, 1919, the session met to discuss the letter from the 
Presbyterian Home Mission Committee with reference to Mrs. 
Ghigo, widow of Pastor Filippo Ghigo. The Mission Committee 
asked the congregation to assume their Christian responsibility for 
the widow, Mrs. Ghigo. They cited that the death of her husband 
had left her almost destitute, and at this time the Mission Commit- 
tee did not have a place for her to live. They would try to find a place 

58 History of the Waldensian Presbj^rian Church 

for her as soon as possible. Following a long discussion and 
considering her present financial straits and the fact that Home 
Missions would soon find her a place, permission was given to 
permit her to remain in the manse on Massel Street until Septem- 
ber 1 of 1919. Earlier that year at the congregational meeting, the 
pastor was asked to do everything possible for the education and 
Christian upbringing of the children of the church, especially 
striving to preserve French in Sunday School as far as possible. 

An event of note in March 1919 was the first formal wedding 
conducted in the Waldensian Presbyterian Church. Mary Long, 
daughter of John and Marguerite Gaydou Long, was united in 
marriage with the Rev. Aurelio Mangione of Plainfield, New Jersey. 

Mrs. Juliette Ghigo's request to buy the manse on Massel Street 
for $1,000 was considered at the June 1 congregational meeting. 
The vote was sixteen in favor and fourteen opposed. Mrs. Ghigo 
subsequently withdrew her offer to purchase the manse for the 
unity and good of the congregation. Later, on September 6, 1919. 
the congregation voted to sell her the manse for $1,500. 

Also on September 6, 1919, the congregation voted to become 
independent from the Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church 
in the United States in respect to the pastof s salary. This action 
would take effect on January 1, 1920, at which time the church 
would assume all the expenses of its work and became totally self- 
supporting. An annual subscription of five dollars was imposed on 
each church member. 

Two hundred and seventeen members were enrolled in the 
church membership. On February 12, 1920, the session voted 
unanimously to adopt the "Every Member Canvass" and "Goal 
Pledge" of the Presbyterian church and to go to the envelope 
method for collection of pledges. The congregation adopted this 
recommendation on March 7, but it was not implemented until a 
later date. 

In the early 1920's, an English choir was organized with Louis 
Philippe Guigou as director. It alternated with the French choir 
which had been organized about 1909. Also sometime in the early 
1920's, the old organ was replaced with a square piano. Miss 
Cesarine Ribet was one of the pianists at this time. 

Many changes occurred during the 1920's. As the congregation 
became more Americanized, it gradually gave up its traditional 
methods of worship and adopted the Presbyterian form of worship. 
Most of the celebrations and worship services remained somewhat 

A Time of Transition 


unique, however, in that they still reflected the customs of the 
Waldensian Church of Italy. 

Christmases of this era were celebrated with a Christmas family 
night service. A large white pine was decorated with real candles 
and with garlands of red and green paper. Nuts were wrapped in 
silver paper and hung on the tree, which was usually located near 
the pulpit on the right side of the church. A large crowd filled the 
church. Some of the children recited in French, some in Italian, and 
some in English. Carols were sung in French. Santa Claus came and 
distributed bags with fruit, candy, bunches of dried raisins, and 

During these years, Easter was observed with an Easter egg hunt 
in the afternoon after worship. The hunts were given by the Sunday 
School teachers for their pupils and were held at the farms of some 
of the members or sometimes in the cow pasture that the Valdese 
Manufacturing Company provided for their employees' cows. All 
the children wore their Easter outfits, including hats. 

L-R: William E. Garrou, Rev. John Pons, Emily Pons Erwood, 
Mary Grill Bertalot, Julia Pascal Bardet, Margaret Gardiol 
Micol, Silvio Martinat. Standing L-R: Mary Martinat, Zeline 
Pons, Linda Clot, Susanne Giraud Pons, Amandine Bouchard 
Sanders, Elda Pascal Briggs, Harriet Grill, Madeleine Gardiol 
Martinat, Aline Pascal, Nelle Garrou Hern, Susanne Martinat. 


History of the Waldensian Presbjrterian Church 







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A Time of Transition 61 

Another event was the summer picnic given by the Sunday 
School teachers for their pupils. One of the members of the 
congregation remembers a special picnic when the mill lent its 
truck for the children's transportation. Everyone dressed in their 
Sunday best. On this particular Sunday, it began to rain about the 
time the group got to Bridgeport, just west of Valdese. Everyone 
scrambled off the truck and tried to keep dry under the bed of the 
truck without much success. As soon as the shower was over, they 
got back on the truck and proceeded to Asbury Park near Antioch 
where the picnic was enjoyed. 

Reflecting the change from old world customs to modern meth- 
ods, by 1921 the offering was collected in the pews during the service 
rather than at the door as the members of the congregation 

On July 22, 1921, seeing the need for additional space for growth 
of the Sunday School, the session voted to build a stone annex to the 
church (approximately 45' by 28') for use as Sunday School rooms. 
The men of the congregation, skilled in the laying of rocks and 
stuccoing, built the annex. As the annex was being built, a central 
steam heating system was installed in the sanctuary to replace the 
inadequate pot-bellied stove. 

The sanctuary had provided the space for Sunday School, 
morning service, young people's activities, and mid-week prayer 
meetings for some twenty-three years. For Sunday School, there 
was a class in each corner of the sanctuary, one in the chancel, and 
one in the ante-room on the northeast side. 

It is commendable that with a meager budget the men of the 
congregation were able to build a sanctuary and an annex that have 
served the congregation of this church for nearly one hundred years 
with only a few renovations, mostly to the interior. 

Interestingly, while the rock masons building the annex were 
eating lunch, a bolt of lightning hit near the corner of the old 
schoolhouse, left a ditch along the foundations of the new Sunday 
School annex, and slightly damaged the corner foundation of the 
new building. 

At the December 15, 1921 session meeting, a decision was made to 
reorganize the Sunday School under the American plan using the 
International Lessons which were in English, rather than French or 
Italian publications. The classes, held in the sanctuary, had served 
mainly for the teachers' hearing the recitation of scripture verses 
committed to memory in French by the pupils. After the recitation, 

62 History of the Waldensian Presbyteriem Church 

the pupils were assembled in the center of the auditorium, and the 
pastor taught the lesson to the entire school. 

From the early years of the church, the seriousness of church 
membership was strongly impressed upon the children and young 
people. At about age fourteen, each young person began two years of 
weekly catechism lessons taught in French by the pastor. At the end 
of two years, when the young people were examined by the session, 
they were questioned individually and expected to recite the 
answers perfectly. On the Sunday they became church members 
and took their first communion, the pastor addressed each young 
person with an appropriate verse of scripture. In the solemnity of 
the occasion, these verses were no doubt imprinted on the hearts 
and memories of these young men and women. 

In the weekly catechism classes, the pastor also instructed the 
young people about reverence in church worship. They were taught 
to prepare themselves for worship by offering a silent prayer upon 
being seated in the sanctuary and also to pray silently at the close of 
the service. Prayers suitable for these times were memorized by the 
young people. Many of the older church members still have the 
cherished memory of observing their parents, after being seated, 
bend forward, place their foreheads in their right hands, and pray 
silently for a few moments. As time passed, many of the Waldensian 
traditions of worship such as this one were no longer observed. 

On January 1, 1922, the new annex was dedicated. It was named 
the C.A. Tron Hall in honor of Dr. Charles Albert Tron, who had led 
the first settlers to Valdese twenty-nine years earlier. The dedica- 
tion was a joyous occasion made especially so by the presence of Dr. 
C.A. Tron. This was Dr. Tron's last visit to the colony. At this time, 
many of the original group of settlers were still living and were very 
happy to see Dr. Tron. 

A Time of Transition 



Later in the same year at the June 4 meeting of the session, Rev. 
Pietro Enrico Monnet, a retired Waldensian minister who was born 
in the Angrogna Valley of the Waldensian Valleys, was thanked for 
his time and service given to the building of the annex. Rev. Monnet 
was asked to fill the pulpit during the vacation of the minister. 

On April 2, 1922, all communicants who carried out their duties 
would become voting members, thus giving women the right to vote 
for the first time. 

After the completion of the new C.A. Tron Hall in 1922, the 
women of the church, then called the Ladies Aid Society, were able 
to sponsor dinners for church and civic groups. From funds raised 
by the bazaar and dinners, the women contributed $25 toward the 
furnishings of Tron Hall and $200 to help pay for the new, modern 
heating system. That year the young girls of the congregation 
bought rubber runners for the church aisles. 

In 1922, a new procedure was adopted for the Lord's Supper with 
the members being served in the pews. The women gave the new 
communion service of individual glasses and containers. This new 
communion service replaced the old tankard and the two silver 
goblets, formerly used to serve communion at the altar. In the early 
years, the men sat on one side of the church, and the women sat on 
the other side. To partake of communion, the men went to the altar 
first, two by two, followed by the women. The pastor recited a verse 

64 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

of scripture appropriate to each individual as he or she partook of 
the bread and drank from a common cup. 

During 1922, the change was made from having all services in 
French to one service a month in the morning in English and the 
other Sunday morning services in French. The evening service was 
still in French. This change was effective on the first of July. 

That year the Christian Endeavor Society was organized. It met 
on Sunday evenings in Tron Hall and was enjoyed by the youth of 
the church. At this time, the number of elders was increased from 
four to six. 

French, which had been the language of the church records, began 
to be replaced by English in 1922. The first minutes of a church 
meeting written in English were by the Rev. John Pons on April 14, 
1922. From then until 1928, some minutes were written in French 
and some in English, depending upon the clerk and his ability to 
write in English. The last minutes in French were written on June 
3, 1928 by Elder Henri Martinat (Pineburr). French continued in 
use in some of the worship services until the time of World War II, 
when all services were in English. However, French hymns continue 
to be used during festival seasons and at some weddings and 
funerals. Until recent times, one circle of the Women of the Church 
had the Bible lesson in French and as late as 1992 still had scripture 
and prayer in French. 

At a session meeting on April 30, 1923, it was decided to purchase 
the two lots adjacent to the church, which had been donated to the 
Burke County Board of Education for the school, since a new school 
had been built in a new location. It was agreed to buy the lots back 
for $300 and to allow the local school board twelve months to 
dispose of the building. On August 5, 1923, it was agreed to sell part 
of the old school property to the Valdese Shoe Corporation. The lot 
was 150' X 400' and sold for $1300. The old frame building, which 
had served as the Valdese school, housed the new enterprise. 

It was noted that the skilled Italian workers at the shoe factory 
from Rochester, New York added to the labors of the pastor. He 
conducted a Sunday afternoon service for the workers in Italian in 
addition to the regular morning service in French or English and 
the evening service in French. 

On December 31, 1923, the session voted to buy a clerical robe 
and to ask the pastor to wear it. (Apparently none of the pastors of 
the church chose to wear a clerical robe until the 1950's.) The 
session also voted to enlarge the pulpit area to provide additional 

A Time of Transition 


CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOR — 1923 — 1st Row L-R: Ermenia 
Clot, John P. Rostan, Jr., Evelyn Pons, Adeline Perrou, Margaret 
Poe, Anita Perrou, Walter Pons, Elizabeth Guigou. 2nd Row L-R: 
John Stephen Perrou, Athos Rostan, Elda Clot, Louise Guigou, 
Grace Poe, Willie Pascal, John Harvey Guigou. 3rd Row L-R: 
Yvonne Rostan, Ida Squillario, Edward Pons, Isabelle Salvageot, 
Arnaldo Pons, Madeleine Perrou, Alberto Clot, Rosalie Poe. 

space for the choir behind the pulpit. A new organ was purchased. 

At the session meeting on January 11, 1924, it was decided to 
accept a mortgage on the land that was sold to the Valdese Shoe 
Corporation. The three notes payable were as follows: $700 in two 
years and the other two to be paid soon thereafter. 

Mention was made of a new north wall needing to be built to the 
sanctuary and that nine windows needed to be added. The decision 
was also made to weatherize the church by adding an attic floor 
above the ceiling and repairing the windows and the walls to make 
the building easier to heat and to keep moisture out. 

On October 26, 1923, the cemetery was surveyed, and on Novem- 
ber 16, one hundred more lots were added. It was voted at the 
January 11, 1924 meeting of the session to fence the cemetery and 
to assess the owners of the lots $2 each and to sell the new lots for 
$10. This would help defray the cost of the fence. 

From the proceeds of the bazaars held in 1924 and 1925, the 
women gave $200 to repair the church and the manse, to install a 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

1924 — Front Row L-R: Amandine Bouchard Sanders, Lydia 
Jacumin Pons, Susanne Martinat, Mary Grill Bertalot. Back Row 
L-R: John Tron, Rachel Perrou Warren, Mary Louise Rostan 
Tron, Lydie Parise Poteet, Marianne Garrou Pons, Margaret 
Gardiol Micol, Irma Ghigo Rostan, Helen Grill Broverio, Mary 
Martinat, Susanne Giraud Pons. 

fence around the manse, and to place needed carpets in the church. 

At the April 29, 1925 meeting of the session, the Rev. Pons asked 
for an increase in salary. The session, which had been considering 
this matter for some time, voted to increase his annual salary from 
$900 to $1500. It was felt that since he was also having to teach at 
Rutherford College, this increase would enable him to devote full 
time to the church ministry. 

However, at the May 20 session meeting. Rev. Pons tendered his 
resignation to be effective in the fall of 1925 so that he could devote 
full time to his teaching at the college. At the congregational 
meeting on June 7, it was voted to accept his resignation, and the 
session was empowered to seek a replacement as soon as possible. 
Consequently on November 22, the congregation voted by secret 
ballot to call Rev. J.A. Verreault to serve as their pastor. 

On January 1, 1926, the Rev. J.A. Verreault began his service to 
the church. A native of Quebec, Canada, he had most recently 

A Time of Transition 67 

served as a missionary among French-speaking families in Louisi- 
ana. Rev. Verreault was the first non- Waldensian pastor to serve the 

On June 6, the session decided to adopt the Presbytery by-laws 
concerning the election of officers. Also at this meeting the annual 
"Busy Bee" report of the Ladies Aid Society was read and accepted. 

On August 26, 1926, the congregation agreed to invite an expert 
in window making to give an estimate of the cost of making new 
windows for the north wall of the church. On November 18, a 
decision was made not to buy the old building belonging to the shoe 
factory. This was the same building which had been the school from 
1906 to 1923. 

During 1927, several changes were made to the church. At a 
meeting of the session held March 13, the Rev. RE. Monnet 
suggested changing the fagade of the church to orientate the 
building from south to north. As Rev. Monnet offered to pay the 
expenses involved, the session agreed to make the change. Appar- 
ently work had begun on a wall which was located behind the 
church. (The decision to change the entrance of the church from 
south to north was never carried out.) 

Mr. Andrew M. Kistler of Morganton made a generous donation 
of $500 to be used for the nine windows which needed to be 
installed. However, the session voted to use the money to pay for 
work already being done. 

On May 9, 1927, it was decided not to accept the proposal of Rev. 
Clark, representing Concord Presbjrtery, concerning the possibility 
of conducting a Daily Vacation Bible School, because most of the 
congregation would be involved in working in the factories. The 
custom was begun of presenting New Testaments to catechumens 
and family Bibles to newlyweds. A new cloth for the Communion 
Table was purchased. 

On August 2, the committee appointed to oversee the repairs to 
the exterior of the church reported that the metal windows did not 
fit properly, and the session instructed the committee to see that 
they were fitted properly. Also, some dissatisfaction was expressed 
that the money donated by Mr. Kistler had not been used for the 
nine windows as he requested. The Rev. P.E Monnet's request was 
granted that the grounds facing the highway be leveled and that 
windows be properly installed. 

The decision was made on September 21, 1927 to install floors in 
the two small rooms beside the pulpit to make them suitable for 

68 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Sunday School rooms. It was also decided to call a tinner each year 
to inspect and repair the gutters of the church. Plans were made to 
beautify the surroundings of the church and the cemetery. A fund 
for this purpose had been started in January of that year. 

The Rev. P.E. Monnet donated his library to the church and then 
financed the building of shelves for the books in the attic area above 
the present choir loft. The new church library was named for its 
generous donor, the Rev. P.E. Monnet. A plaque in his honor was to 
be placed in the library. Later a generous gift from Mrs. Tate of 
Morganton to the library collection was graciously accepted. 

On March 16, 1928, the session voted to begin work in the church 
bell tower room to adapt that area for use by a Sunday School class. 
Also considered was the building of a room in the attic of the 

At the congregational meeting on June 3, 1928, the assembly 
arose unanimously to express thanks to member Jean Henri Pascal 
(Bienvenue) for all the services he had rendered to the church. He 
had served as elder for twenty-five consecutive years and had 
recently tendered his resignation as a member of the session. 

To enhance the meaning of the Lord's Supper, it was decided to 
have one Communion service per month rather than two. 

On August 7, 1928, the contract was let for the remodeling of the 
manse (formerly the Palmer-Grant House) for the sum of $3200. 
After much study, the decision was made to renovate only the first 
story of the original two-story wood building. The house was also 
brick veneered, which was made possible by a generous gift from the 
Ladies Aid Society. Apparently the cost exceeded the original 
estimate, as it was reported in the fall that the cost for remodeling 
was $4200; $3000 was paid, leaving a balance of $1200 owed. 

A minister from the Moravian church of Winston Salem spoke at 
the February 17, 1929 supper. The focus of the celebration was the 
progress that had been made in improving the physical plant of the 
church in the previous year. 

Efforts had been made to organize the women according to 
Presbyterial guidelines as early as 1924. Finally, Presbyterial 
records show that in April 1929, Valdese was listed as "an Auxiliary 
with forty members, contributing to local church work only." In the 
report of the following year, the women had given ten dollars to the 
Birthday Offering and ten dollars to Foreign Missions. Mrs. J.A. 
Verreault, the pastor's wife, was listed as president and as the 
representative of the group at the Presbyterial meeting held in 

A Time of Transition 69 

Morganton in 1931. 

In 1930, hymnal racks for the backs of the sanctuary pews were 
purchased. Priority was to be given to repairing the roof of the 
church and to repainting and repairing the church interior. New 
lighting fixtures were installed. 

In June 1930, the congregation attended a "Love Feast" at the 
Moravian Church in Winston Salem. In August, the Moravian 
Church was invited by the Waldensian congregation to attend the 
August 15 celebration. This exchange of fellowship between the two 
congregations continued for a few years. 

The practice had been to hold the August 15 service and celebra- 
tion of the "Glorious Return" on the Sunday nearest the fifteenth of 
the month at the farms of different members. The families of the 
congregation attended with their well-packed picnic baskets includ- 
ing their bottles of wine. The dinner followed the worship service. 
After the service and having eaten their fill, the children and youth 
of the congregation would play games such as "un, deux, trois, 
Capitaine Rouge, partez" and other children's games. 

On July 8, 1930, the Sunday evening services were temporarily 
discontinued. The morning services were in English on the first and 
third Sundays and in French on the second and fourth. 

At the December 2 meeting of the session, the Rev. Verreault 
presented his letter of resignation effective December 30, citing ill 
health. However, his resignation was not accepted until January 18, 
1931. When he resigned, there was much discussion over whether to 
call a minister from the Waldensian Church in Italy or to call an 
English-speaking pastor. The older members of the congregation 
favored a French-speaking pastor, but as none was available at this 
time, they had to look to Concord Presbytery for assistance. 

The years 1931 to 1935 were a period of adjustment for the church 
and the community. On July 5, 1931, an invitation was extended to 
the Rev. James H. Caligan to supply the pulpit until May 8, 1932. 
He was a graduate of Davidson College and of Union Seminary in 
Richmond, Virginia. He was subsequently unanimously elected to 
remain and was installed as the regular pastor. All services were 
conducted in English with the exception of one each month when 
the Rev. John Pons preached in French. 

The Rev. Caligan possessed a charismatic personality. He espe- 
cially appealed to the youth of the church and organized many 
activities for them. He and several young men cleared some of the 
vacant land belonging to the church and built a tennis court for the 

70 History of the Wialdensian Presbyterian Church 

use of the congregation. 

On July 27, 1931, the session decided to rent the manse for one 
month then discuss with the Rev. CaHgan the matter of lodging. As 
he was unmarried, session members were not sure he would want 
the manse. However, he did decide to live in the manse. Up until 
this time most of the session meetings, committee meetings, and 
some Sunday School classes had been held at the manse. Since the 
Rev. Caligan was single, he shared the manse with several young 
men who were teachers in the local school. For that reason the 
practice of using the manse for various church meetings was 

Through the persistent efforts of the Rev. James H. Caligan, the 
Ladies' Auxiliary began to grow and organize. Officers were chosen, 
with Mrs. Albert F. Garrou (Louise Holloway) as president. Regular 
monthly meetings were held. The February 1932 Auxiliary minutes 
note that the women "decided to borrow money to have the church 
grounds landscaped and a lawn made." In March of that year, the 
work was carried out by the pastor and the women. For many years 
afterwards, the women had the responsibility of the upkeep of the 
church grounds. 

At the August 7, 1931 meeting of the session, it was decided that 
the Christian Endeavor Society would be included in the regular 
Sunday evening services. 

In 1933, Miss Sally Ramseur, from Quaker Meadows, Burke 
County, North Carolina, was employed to work with the youth 
during the summer. She was the first Director of Christian Educa- 
tion to serve this church. 

On February 21, 1933, the session voted to set aside $1500 in a 
fund for a future educational building as the Sunday School had 
outgrown the space available. The Ladies' Auxiliary was asked to 
donate their surplus money to the future educational building. In 
January of that year, the Auxiliary had agreed to purchase ten 
shares of building and loan stock which would eventually be 
donated for this purpose. The paid-up shares were given to the 
session in November 1939. 

On June 9, 1934, the Rev. J.H. Caligan and Emily Leger, daughter 
of Humbert and Marie Parise Leger of Valdese, were married. Her 
grandfather, Jean Jacques Leger, was one of the original settlers in 

On January 1, 1935, the first men's organization was formed, and 
their first meeting was on February 10, 1935. However, they did not 

A Time of Transition 


L-R: Francis Ghigo, Essie Devinney (O.H.) Pons, Hazel Coley 
(Daniel B.) Bounous, Melissa Wacaster (Philip S.) Grill» Anita 
Ghigo, Irene Tron (James) Weir, Sally Ramseur (Director of 
Christian Education), Rev. James H. Caligan. 

join the Men of the Church of Concord Presbytery until 1946. 

In March of 1935, the Young People's Society was reorganized 
under the guidance of the Rev. Caligan. Also in 1935, the Rev. 
Caligan proposed a list of ten recommendations to improve the 
Women's Auxiliary. These included adopting the full plan of work 
as outlined by the Presbyterian Church in the United States, 
organizing circles including every woman in the church, and having 
voluntary offerings instead of set dues. The recommendations were 
approved, and one result was the formation of three circles from a 
list of 134 women. Two of the circles were soon combined due to 
poor attendance. The Auxiliary contributed $4 to help pay for 
weekly church bulletins, a practice introduced by Rev. Caligan. 

On March 31, 1936, it was reported that the number of elders had 
been increased to eight and the number of deacons to four. 

The year 1937 saw the first member of this church go into full- 
time church work. Jeanette Bounous graduated from Assembly 
Training School in Richmond, Virginia, and was engaged in church 
work until after her marriage to Wilson S. Bigham in October 1939. 

In 1937, the first church budget was adopted, with a total of 


History of the Waldensiein Presbyterian Church 

$3,598. There has been an annual church budget since that time. On 
March 7, 1937, the congregation voted to build the new educational 
building for which a building fund had been started in 1933. 

The Rev. Caligan asked Mrs. George Williams, Jr. (Ruth Mc- 
Quiston), a talented musician who had moved to Valdese from 
South Carolina with her husband, to take charge of the church 
music and to be choir director. Shortly thereafter a beautiful 
Hammond electric organ was given to the church as a memorial gift. 

In April of 1938, Mrs. Williams organized a vested choir. She was 
assisted for many years by Miss Anita Ghigo, daughter of the late 
Pastor Filippo Ghigo. The many beautiful organ-piano duets played 
by Mrs. Williams and Miss Ghigo added much to the church 

Rev. J.A. Caligan submitted his resignation on April 3, 1938 to be 
effective May 1. The Rev. John Pons served the church as interim 
pastor until a replacement could be called. 

GEORGE W. (RUTH) WILLIAMS, JR. — 1938 — 1st Row L-R: 
Louise HoUoway (Albert F.) Garrou, Bernice Smith (Frederick) 
Ribet, Jeanette Leger, Marie Garrou, Emily Leger (James H.) 
Caligan. 2nd Row L-R: Mrs. Paul White, Yvonne Rostan (Hugh) 
Peeler, Louise Gaydou (J.D.) Guigou, Ruth M. (George W., Jr.) 
Williams. 3rd Row L-R: John Grant, Julius Ramsey, Sr., Rev. 
James H. Caligan, John Stephen Perrou, John D. Guigou. 

A Time of Transition 


In June 1938, the Women's Auxiliary sponsored a Vacation Bible 
School. A trained worker, Mrs. Askers, was paid $20 for her services 
for two weeks. 

The congregation approved and extended a call to the Rev. 
Sylvan S. Poet on December 4, 1938. He arrived early in 1939 and 
preached his first sermon as pastor February 5, 1939. He was a 
native of Torre Pellice, Italy, and had experience as a pastor in New 
York and Chicago before coming to Valdese. 

During the first year that Pastor Sylvan Poet served the congre- 
gation, the much needed educational building was built. On April 
30, 1939, the contract was let for the building. It included Sunday 
School rooms on the first floor and kitchen and fellowship hall on 
the second floor. Work began in the early summer, and it was 
estimated that the building would be finished by December 1939 at 
a cost of $22,454.12. On February 17, 1940, the new educational 
building was dedicated and named Pioneer Hall in memory of the 
first settlers. The Rev. Neil McGeachy, Moderator of Concord 
Presbytery, was the guest minister. 

The women were overjoyed to have the use of a spacious dining 
hall and a well-equipped kitchen. They hoped to use these new 
facilities to earn money for their projects. However, the Rev. Poet, 
in discussing the use of the building in a letter to the Auxiliary, 

after the completion of Pioneer Hall in 1940. 

74 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

earnestly requested that the women rather strive for the spiritual 
interest of the church and provide financial aid through free-will 
offerings. Many of the women who had worked for years preparing 
meals were relieved at the pastof s suggestion. 

Further expenditures for improvement included two new commu- 
nion trays with covers and two new collection plates which were 
purchased in 1939. 

On July 17 of the same year, the Town of Valdese was notified of the 
church's policy to reserve the cemetery for members of the Walden- 
sian Church. On August 10, 1939, a motion was made to pay the Town 
of Valdese the sum of $1,581.31 for street and sidewalk pavement on 
the streets adjacent to the church. 

On October 1, 1939, appreciation was expressed to New York 
friends of the Rev. Poet for the donation of six pianos for use in the 
new Sunday School classrooms. Broadcasting of church services over 
Hickory radio station WHKY began in 1940. 

An impressive Easter sunrise service was instituted on March 24, 
1940 and continued for several years. The choirs, church members, 
visitors, and on occasion, groups from other churches united in early 
morning worship, gathering at the church for prayer and service, then 
walking in solemn procession to the cemetery where they waited in the 
stillness for the sun to rise slowly over the horizon. This service was 
very inspiring, and members of the congregation who experienced it 
have never forgotten. 

Sincere appreciation was extended to Robert 0. Huffman of Drexel 
Furniture for the furnishing of the ladies' parlor in Pioneer Hall. On 
July 15, 1940, flagstone was used to pave the walk between the Pioneer 
Hall and the church to the Main Street. 

The rotation method of election of officers was adopted March 16, 
1941. The April 6, 1941 meeting of the session recommended that 
folding doors be placed in the Sunday School assembly room and that 
partitions be placed in the C.A. Tron Hall. 

On June 16, 1941, the Rev. Poet submitted his resignation to accept 
a call to Middletown, New York effective August 1. On July 6, 1941, a 
meeting was called for July 13, 1941 to accept the resignation of the 
Rev. Poet and to elect a pulpit committee. Members of the congrega- 
tion were reminded of the debt still remaining on Pioneer Hall. 

During June and July 1941, the French service was broadcast on 
Sunday afternoon over Radio Station WHKY Hickory. At this time, 
the church still had French and English choirs and services in French 
and English. 

A Time of Transition 





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History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 


First Formal Church Wedding 

April 29, 1919 

Mary Long and Rev. Aurelio Mangione 

L-R: Athos Rostan, Rosalie Pascal, William F. Pons, Margaret 
Pascal, Rev. Joseph A. Verreault, Yvonne Rostan, Valdo Pierre 
Rivoire, Ida Emma Squillario, Henry Barthelemy Pascal. 


World War II and the Post- War Years 


"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and 

Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for 

ever. Amen. " II Peter 3:18 

Full acceptance of Southern Presbyterianism. 

The impact of the war years and the vitality and 

growth of the early post-war era. 

Dr. Watson Munford Fairley was called as temporary pastor to 
serve for three months. He preached his first sermon on October 5, 
1941. Dr. Fairley had retired from his pastorate in Raeford, North 
Carolina on June 1, 1940 due to ill health and had moved with Mrs. 
Fairley to their home at Montreat. After coming to Valdese, he 
became so well loved by the congregation that his supply pastorate 
was renewed every three months until the limit set by the synod was 
reached in 1945. 

Under the leadership of the Fairleys, new vitality was seen in the 
life of the church. Church activities were expanded and giving 
increased. These were the World War II years when much attention 
was given to remembering the men in military service and to 
contributing to the war effort. 

Dr. Fairley worked to increase participation in the work of the 
church. Soon after his arrival, he organized a Men's Bible Class 
with twenty-two members. In turn, Mrs. Fairley started a Women's 
Bible Class with twenty-four members. 

In 1942, the church budget was $5,500. The Every Member 
Canvass resulted in pledges of $6,575. For the first time, the church 
furnished envelopes for the collection of pledges. The rotary system 
for the election of elders and deacons was adopted in 1941 and put 
into effect a year later. An Educational Committee was appointed 
by the session to advise and assist the Sunday School superinten- 
dent and teachers. In 1942, a number of Advance Movement Goals 
were adopted to promote family worship and to increase Sunday 

78 History of the Waldensian Presbj^rian Church 

School and church attendance. The nursery for young children was 
enlarged to encourage parents to attend worship services. 

The year 1943 saw an emphasis on activities for children and 
young people. A Girl Scout troop was sponsored by the Women's 
Auxiliary, and the church began sponsoring Boy Scout Troop No. 1. 
In May, 1943 Mrs. George Williams and Miss Anita Ghigo orga- 
nized a junior choir for girls between the ages of twelve and 
eighteen. A two-week Vacation Bible School was sponsored by the 
Women's Auxiliary in June. Dr. and Mrs. Fairley presented thirteen 
books on missions to the Sunday School library, which was reor- 
ganized by Mrs. Wade H. Stemple. Funds were given by the Sunday 
School and Auxiliary circles to buy books for the library. 

The need for renovation and restoration of the church sanctuary 
had become evident by this time. In January 1943, an architect was 
recommended, but due to scarcity of workmen and materials during 
the war years, work was not begun until 1945. A building fund 
campaign was started in September 1943. By the end of 1944, 
$15,000 had been set aside for this work. 

In January 1944, the session approved a donation of $150 to 
Valdese General Hospital to maintain a "charity bed." The budget 
for the following year included $600 for this purpose. In February 
1944, the session voted to include the Apostles' Creed in the 
worship services. This was a departure from the teachings of the 
Waldensian Church, which opposed any liturgical form of worship. 
Some of the older members were not pleased but did not oppose the 

The session decided in September 1944 to reserve the remaining 
space in the cemetery for members of the Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church. The town was asked to provide a cemetery for the 
community. A commission was appointed to formulate a plan for 
operation of the church cemetery. The price of a full lot was set at 
$100; half lots were priced at $50 and individual plots at $25. 

The Rev. John Pons, who had served the church two terms as 
pastor and who had continued to supply the pulpit and preach in 
French as long as his health permitted, died on November 11, 1944. 
A memorial service, sponsored by the Eastern Star and conducted 
by Dr. Fairley, was held for this faithful servant of the Lord in the 
church on December 10. 

In December 1944, the first full-time janitor, Mr. Emmanuel 
Perrou, was employed. By the end of the church year, there were 445 
enrolled members. The budget for 1945 was $19,692. Dr. Fairley's 

Growth and Vitality 79 

allowed time as supply pastor ended in the summer of 1945. The 
Fairleys retired to their Montreat home, but Dr. Fairley continued 
to fill the pulpit frequently. 


On June 20, 1941, a committee made up of Lee Ribet, chairman; 
the Rev. John Pons, secretary; and Antoine Grill, treasurer, was 
named to provide for the erection of a suitable memorial in honor of 
the pioneers who settled Valdese in 1893. The cost of the monu- 
ment, to be located on the property of the Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church, facing Highway 70, was to be shared by Burke County, the 
Town of Valdese, and the citizens and friends of the community. 

On the afternoon of October 27, 1943, the monument was 
dedicated in an impressive ceremony planned for the church lawn 
but held in the school auditorium due to inclement weather. The 
dedication address was delivered by the Honorable J. Melville 
Broughton, Governor of North Carolina. Other guests included the 
Honorable Cameron Morrison, former United States Senator and 
Governor; Judge Sam J. Ervin, Jr.; and North Carolina State 
Representative A.B. Stoney. Also taking part in the program was 
J.D. Brinkley, Sr., mayor of Valdese; John Long, first mayor of 
Valdese; Dr. Watson Fairley, pastor of the Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church; Rev. John Pons and Rev. J.A. Verreault, former pastors; 
and Rev. M.I. Harris, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Valdese. 

Music was provided by the Valdese and Drexel High School 
Bands and the Junior Choir of the church. Boy Scouts and Girl 
Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance. A letter of greeting from 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was read. 

The monument is inscribed as follows: "To The Waldensian 
Colony from the Cottian Alps who settled here first in 1893, 
numbering in all 427. In recognition of their Christian Ideals, 
Integrity, Industry, and Good Citizenship this Monument is erected 
by the Town of Valdese and Burke County, commemorating The 
Fiftieth Anniversary of their Arrival." The word "Waldenses" is 
carved on the front and back. On the back are the dates 

Following the ceremony, dinner was served in Pioneer Hall by the 
Women's Auxiliary to the honor guests and other officials. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Monument Erected to Commemorate the Fiftieth Year of the 
Founding of Valdese — Dedicated October 27, 1943 

On October 31, 1943, the Sunday following the dedication of the 
monument, Antoine Grill, venerable leader in the spiritual and 
economic life of the colony, presented to the church a carefully 
prepared genealogy and history of Waldensian families who had 
settled Valdese. He had been greatly assisted in this work by Henry 
Martinat (Pineburr). This valuable document representing thou- 
sands of hours of research and writing had been photocopied by the 
North Carolina Department of History. 


With the coming of Dr. and Mrs. Fairley in October 1941, the 
Women's Auxiliary of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church began a 
new era of growth and vitality. Although the leadership and 

Growth and Vitality 81 

organization had grown stronger during the pastorates of Pastors 
Caligan and Poet, a matter of concern for Mrs. Fairley when she 
came was the fact that the Auxiliary was not a legally constituted 
organization. The committee appointed to draft a constitution and 
by-laws was composed of Mrs. L.P. Guigou (Lillian Sweeney), 
chairman; Mrs. Joe Hern (Nelle Garrou), Mrs. Leon Guigou (Nell 
Saunders) and Mrs. Wade H. Stemple. According to the February 
19, 1942 executive board minutes, "The constitution and by-laws 
which were approved were read by Mrs. Fairley." With their 
adoption, the Auxiliary became a legally constituted institution of 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church. 

Following the suggestion of Mrs. Fairley, Monday was the day 
selected for Auxiliary meetings to avoid conflicts with meetings of 
other organizations in the community. The bazaar in December 
1941 was the last one held by the Auxiliary, due to a gradual 
lessening of interest in the once popular money-making event. 

In March 1942, the Auxiliary treasury showed a balance of 
$607.60. The women voted to donate this amount to assist in the 
payment of the debt remaining on Pioneer Hall. At the end of the 
1941-42 year, the Auxiliary had seven active circles, including the 
newly organized French Circle for those who spoke French and 
patois. The amount budgeted for 1942-1943 was $523. 

The Auxiliary historian, Mrs. L. P. Guigou, reported that "much 
valuable data and material had been collected and filed." She 
recommended that a standard minute book be used and that records 
should be kept carefully and dates recorded. Mrs. Guigou stated in 
her history that "The closing of the year 1941-42 might be called the 
beginning of a period of reconstruction." Under the very efficient 
and forceful leadership of Dr. and Mrs. Fairley, the Auxiliary began 
to show signs of being shaped according to the plan of the General 
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. 

Three delegates attended the Auxiliary Training School held at 
Montreat in July 1942. No mention had been made of attendance at 
the conference in earlier years. That year, reports were given of 
projects undertaken by the individual circles, including providing 
for local needy families, "adopting" a child at Barium Springs 
Home for Children, and purchasing a desk for the Sunday School 
office. Also in 1942, in the report of the French Circle, the first 
mention is made of the "Home Circle." These were women who, 
because of age or illness, could not be active circle members. A 
special work of the French Circle over the years has been to visit 

82 History of the Waldensian Presbjrterian Church 

these women on a regular basis. Mrs. F.H. Pons (lola Britt) served 
as president in 1942. 

Mrs. Fairley assumed the presidency of the AuxiUary in 1943 and 
served two years. The term of office gave her an excellent oppor- 
tunity to instruct the women in the use of parliamentary law, in 
which she excelled. The historian notes that there was also much 
improvement in records kept by the Auxiliary and the circles. A 
special project for 1943 was the purchase of robes for the newly 
formed Junior Choir. In September, the "Advance Movement" 
goals of the church were studied at a dinner for Auxiliary officers 
and Sunday School teachers. Throughout the year, a number of 
interesting presentations were made by the Secretaries of Causes. It 
was a busy, productive year. 

The year 1944 began with eight circles and 192 women in 
membership. At the Auxiliary meeting on April 17, the historian, 
Mrs. L.P. Guigou, read a sketch of her partially completed history of 
the women's work of the Waldensian Presbjrterian Church from 
1893 to 1942. Her work was officially adopted. The polio epidemic of 
the summer of 1944 prompted the Auxiliary to send $25 to the 
Infantile Paralysis Committee. 

On September 26, 1944, at the District I Group Conference held 
in Newton, Mrs. Fairley was recognized with an Honorary Life 
Membership. Later, the Auxiliary in Valdese presented the Honor- 
ary Life Membership Pin to her. Mrs. Fairley was the first in the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Auxiliary to be so honored. A biographi- 
cal sketch of the life and work of Alice RoUwage Fairley is included 
in Mrs. L.P. Guigou's history. 

Receipts for the year 1944 were $1,245.33. Of this amount, $587.82 
was given to benevolences and $617.75 to the church building fund. 
That year for the first time a sum of $25 was set aside by the 
Auxiliary for the purchase of flowers for the sanctuary, especially 
during the winter months. For many years, Mrs. L.P. Guigou had 
provided the flowers for worship services. Annual reports were made 
for the first time. The circles had a membership of 186 women. 

Mrs. O.H. Pons (Essie Devinney) became president in 1945. That 
year, priority was given to the needs of Barium Springs Home for 
Children. Efforts were also directed to wartime needs. Dr. and Mrs. 
Fairley left Valdese during the summer of 1945. The Auxiliary 
officers prepared a set of Resolutions which were sent to the 
Fairleys as a token of appreciation for their work in the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church. 

Growth and Vitality 83 


It is appropriate to follow the preceding sketch of the Women's 
Auxiliary with an accounting of the church activities of the World 
War II years, for it was largely the women who addressed the special 
needs of that period of time. 

As early as 1941, the Auxiliary kept in touch with the servicemen 
from the church. Bibles and packages were sent to them. Mrs. Joe 
Hern (Nelle Garrou) sent home-made candy to the men throughout 
the war years. In June 1942, the women placed an honor roll of 
servicemen in the church vestibule with the plea "Pray for them 
daily." In September 1943, the Auxiliary sent a contribution to the 
Jacksonville, North Carolina Presbyterian Church to assist in their 
work with servicemen. 

In 1944, a large service flag with sixty-nine stars representing the 
servicemen from the church was presented by Mrs. L.P. Guigou in 
honor of her son John Harvey Guigou, who was serving in the Air 
Force. This flag now hangs in the museum. Beginning on May 1, 
1944, the church bell tolled each evening at six o'clock calling 
citizens to prayer for God's protection of our men and for peace. 
Also that month, the session voted to send $50 to the Defense 
Service Council to aid servicemen. 

Beginning in 1944 and continuing for several years, the Women's 
Auxiliary collected clothing, food and other necessities to send to 
people in the Waldensian Valleys, who had suffered greatly during 
the war. 

The mothers of the church who had sons serving in the armed 
services were honored by Mrs. L.P. Guigou when she presented to 
the church two large flags, one American and one Christian. On VE 
Day, May 8, 1945, when hostilities ceased in Europe, the church bell 
tolled on and on. There was much loud rejoicing in the streets of 
Valdese. Many found their way to the church sanctuary for prayer 
and thanksgiving. Finally, on August 14, 1945, when hostilities 
ceased with Japan, all could look forward to their sons coming home 
to a world at peace. 

On June 14, 1945, the Rev. Albert Bonner McClure, Sr. was called 
as pastor of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church. He preached his 
first sermon on October 7, 1945 in Pioneer Hall due to renovations 
of the sanctuary. The Rev. McClure was installed pastor by a 
commission appointed by Concord Presbytery. 

World War II had just ended, and the men were returning home 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

from Europe and the Pacific. The Rev. McClure stressed the 
importance of contacting the young men returning from service and 
inviting them to attend church and welcoming them with open 
arms. He also urged the Women's Auxiliary and the circles to 
continue sending packages of clothes, supplies and money to the 
Waldensian people in Italy who were still suffering from the 
devastations of war. 

On July 23, 1945, a committee was authorized by the session and 
diaconate to secure the services of an architect and a builder to 
remodel the manse. Two rooms were added to the front of the house, 
a bathroom was added, the house was painted, and other repairs 
were made to make the manse more comfortable and convenient for 
the pastor and his family. In a joint meeting of the session and the 
diaconate on November 5, 1945, the treasurer was authorized to pay 
for all repairs to the manse from the church building fund. 

Second Manse remodeled in 1928 and again in 1945 

During his ministry in Valdese, the Rev. McClure placed much 
emphasis on the youth of the town. He had such a strong feeling of 
love and concern for young people that he devoted quality time to 
their welfare, and he worked diligently to mold them into good 
citizens. He helped provide entertainment for all the teenagers in 
town at the Valdese Community Center on Fridays, and he went on 

Growth and Vitality 85 

many high school field trips as a chaperon. He knew everyone by his 
first name and had nicknames for many people. 

Under the direction of Mrs. George Williams and Miss Anita 
Ghigo, the Junior Choir began to grow. Special attention was given 
to the choir which had an enrollment of thirty. To accommodate the 
enrollment, tiers of seats were placed at the left and right sides of 
the pulpit. Mrs. Williams and Miss Ghigo did numerous things to 
stimulate interest and participation in the Junior Choir. Each fall 
when the choir began its new year, the two leaders would do 
something special for them. Once they entertained the choir with a 
picnic on the lawn at Mrs. Williams' house. That does not seem like 
much to teenagers now, but it meant a lot in the mid-forties because 
there was very little social life except for what the church offered. 
Every event was thoroughly enjoyed. 

The directors also took the choir to compete with other North 
Carolina church choirs at state meets held either in Statesville or 
Charlotte. The Waldensian Junior Choir always made a good 
showing. Many of the Junior Choir members sang solos, played 
instrumental solos and duets, and took charge of the church music 
during the summer months. From these musical experiences, many 
of the choir members continued to participate in music activities in 

Since the late 1940's, special recognition has been given each 
spring to the graduating high school seniors for their work in the 
music department of the church. The students are presented choir 
pins and certificates. This recognition of youth at the close of their 
high school years has continued as a way to thank them for their 
years of service to the church. 

The need for a director of religious education in the church was 
recognized, Mrs. C.W. White accepted this position on a part-time 
basis. In March 1946, Rev. McClure expressed his desire to resume 
the custom of presenting a Bible to couples married in the church. 

It was evident that more land was needed for the cemetery; 
therefore, on April 21, 1946, the church purchased two and one-half 
acres adjoining the present cemetery from Louis Ferrier at $200 per 
acre. Later that year. The Reverend Guido Comba, treasurer of the 
Waldensian Church of Rome, visited Valdese to report on the living 
conditions and health of relatives and friends in Italy. Not long 
after his visit, the Women's Auxiliary, the circles and friends sent 
three hundred boxes of clothes weighing 1600 pounds and $2000 to 
the Waldensian Valleys. This aid continued for several years. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

In 1947, a Historical Collection Committee was organized to 
gather and preserve items brought by the colonists from Italy or 
used in their pioneer days in Valdese. A room in the Charles A. Tron 
Hall was set aside for the museum. The committee members were 
Mrs. L.P. Guigou (Lillian Sweeney), Mrs. John D. Guigou (Louise 
Gaydou), Mrs. Ben Pons (Marianne Garrou), Mrs. Edward Micol 
(Marguerite Gardiol), Mrs. Albert Garrou (Louise Holloway), 
Antoine Grill, John Pascal (Gardiole) and Henry Philip Martinat 
(Pineburr). In December of that year, chimes for the organ and an 
amplifier for the church tower were donated as a memorial gift. 

Mrs. Louise Gaydou Guigou displaying early Museum Collection 


On November 2, 1947, the original builders of the church (those 
still living) were honored at the morning worship service, and the 
building committee members who had worked for two years in the 
renovation of the sanctuary were also honored for their diligent 
work. In the renovation, the entire outside of the sanctuary and 
Tron Hall was stuccoed. On the inside, new stained glass windows 
bearing the seals of various ancient Reformed churches were 

Growth and Vitality 87 

installed. The chancel area had a divided pulpit with choir area on 
each side of the archway. Before, there was a single pulpit in front of 
the arch. Wood-paneled screens were installed across the front of 
the church around the pulpit, lectern, and choirs. New pews were 
also installed as well as a new concrete floor covered with an oak 
floor and then carpeted. Recessed radiators were placed in the walls 
under the windows to give more space in the side aisles. The cost of 
the renovation was $52,473.91. 

The church budget for 1948 was $14,524. The membership had 
increased to 492 with 259 in Sunday School. During this same year, 
we had two guest speakers: Mrs. Catherine Anderson, secretary of 
Waldensian Aid Society in New York, and the Rev. Alfred Janavel 
from the Waldensian Church in New York. 

In January 1949, there was a rededication of the sanctuary and a 
dedication of its furnishings. The Rev. McClure presided at this 
service and burned the cancelled note of $7,000 representing the 
balance due. 

The Rev. McClure received a call in September 1949 to accept the 
superintendency of the Barium Springs Home for Children at 
Barium Springs, North Carolina, and he asked that his pastoral 
relations with the Waldensian Presbjrterian Church be dissolved 
effective January 10, 1950. 

This was a sad time for the Rev. McClure, his wife and four 
children, as well as for the church. The congregation would miss his 
graciousness, his fantastic sense of humor, and his radiant person- 
ality. A farewell party was given in his honor on Christmas Eve, 

At the last session meeting presided over by the Rev. McClure, he 
expressed his desire that the church would purchase the remaining 
tract of land in the church block and name the entire block "Little 
Waldensian," making it a garden spot for all who have been and are 
yet to come. On January 8, 1950, he preached his last sermon. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 






o d 

S g 

**^ -5 

o « 



• l-l 



Growth and Vitality 


Anniversary Banquet Celebrating the 100th Year 


February 17, 1848 — February 17, 1948 

(Among those pictured above are many of the original 1893 
pioneers). Seated L-R: Frederic Peyronel, Daniel B. Bounous, 
Antoine Grill, John (Bobo) Garrou, John Henry Pascal (Balsille), 
John Henry Pascal (Gardiole), Reverend Albert B. McClure, John 
Long. Standing L-R: Alexis Guigou, Julius Grisette, Henry F. 
Martinat, Jean Pierre Rostan, John Refour, Louis P. Guigou, 
Marie Ferrier (James Henry) Pascal, Susanne Long (Eli) 
Bertalot, Irma Ghigo (JP) Rostan, Catherine Anderson Beattie 
(Secretary of the American Waldensian Aid Society for over 13 
years), Louise Gaydou (John D.) Guigou, Helen Pascal (Aldo F.) 
Martinat, Henry P. Martinat, Juliette Rosso (Filippo £.) Ghigo, 
Francois Pons, Henry F. Garrou, Frank Pascal, Albert F. Garrou, 
Benjamin Perrou. 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 


^-^ ^ ^ 

CHANCEL CHOIR — c. 1949 

1st Row L-R: Anita Ghigo, Patricia Melvin (W. Harold) Mitchell, 
Jeannine Garrou, Marian Morrison, Pauline Ribet (Wm. T.) 
Eanes, Vivian Ogle (Harley) Coffey, Bertha D. (Louis) Deaton, 
Ruth McQuiston (George W., Jr.) Williams — Director. 2nd Row 
L-R: Doris Campbell (Edward) Garrou, Clementine Perrou 
(William) Butler, Bernice Smith (Frederick) Ribet, Jane Caudell, 
Vera Berry (M. Haynes) Rutherford, Mildred Smith (R. L.) Pyatt, 
Elfie Bounous (George) Grill. 3rd Row L-R: Robert Gorley, 
Edward Pons, Helen Crow, Barbara Bounous (Leroy) Wall, 
Rosalie Grana (Hedrick) Powell. 4th Row L-R: Benjamin Perrou, 
Robert Micol, Kenneth Bumgarner, Frank Goode, John Stephen 
Perrou, Jr. 

Growth and Vitality 


JUNIOR CHOIR — c. 1950 

1st Row L-R: Margaret Perrou, Louise Ann Verreault, Maxine 
Briggs, Gwendolyn Garrou, Joan Goode, Gwendolyn Pons, Ann 
Long, Joan Hall, Lorraine Perrou, Catherine Baker. 2nd Row 
L-R: Beverly Tron, Junine Tron, Joan Rutherford, Jeanne 
Grana, Mildred Searcy, Julia Lee Ribet, Anne Dare May, 
Harriette Pons. 3rd Row L-R: Jenelle Searcy, Rheta Micol, Peggy 
Jane Perrou, Ruth Williams, Peggy Benfield, Doris Searcy, Mary 
Ann McCarley, Louise Perrou, Betty Giraud, Anaise Bridges, 
Weeta Searcy. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


L-R: Imogene Pons, Margaret Garrou, Pauline Ribet, Bernice 
Ribet, Josephine Perrou, Rosalba Pascal, Doris Pons, Helen 
Crowe, Emily Micol, Ann Frazier. 

First Recipients of Junior Choir Pins 

June 1949 
Rosalie Grana and Barbara Bounous 




"If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, 

there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him 

will my father honor. " John 12:26 

A growing awareness of our obligation to our fellow man. 

The 1950's were a good time for churches in general. The world 
was recovering from a tragic world war, and there was worry about 
the beginning of another conflict in Korea. People were turning to 
religion to find meaning for their lives. The people of Valdese were 
no exception. Church attendance and church membership were on 
the rise. People were open to new and expanded programs. 

In December of 1949, the Women of the Church had begun 
regular visits to Broughton Hospital under a program started by the 
hospital chaplain, the Rev. A.W. Lippard. The Rev. W.R. Smith III, 
YMCA secretary at Davidson College, had been selected to serve as 
supply minister until a new minister could be called. 

At a meeting on February 5, 1950, the congregation of the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church voted unanimously to extend a 
call to the Rev. Walter H. Styles, pastor of Black Mountain 
Presbyterian Church, to serve as pastor. His first worship service 
was on March 12, 1950. 

During a congregational meeting held at 2:30 P.M., February 26, 
1950, a baptismal font matching the new church furnishings was 
dedicated as a memorial gift. 

The Women of the Church hosted the Concord Presbyterial, 
April 24 and April 25. A total of 427 women from throughout the 
presbytery attended. 

Elder George W. Williams, Jr. attended the 90th meeting of the 
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S. held in Har- 
risonburg, Virginia in early June 1950 as a commissioner from 
Concord Presbytery. 

The church sponsored the building of a Scout Hut for Troop 1 of 
the Boy Scouts at the corner of Carolina and Massel Streets. The 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^rian Church 

1st Row Seated L-R: Mary Grill (Henry) Bertalot, Irma Ghigo 
(Jean Pierre) Rostan, Adele Grill (John Daniel) Pascal, Harriet 
Vinay (John) Long, Ida Gardiol (Armando) Menusan, Madeleine 
Rostan (Emile) Squillario, Marie Ferrier (James Henry) Pascal, 
2nd Row Seated L-R: Madeleine Grill, Jeanne Pons (Francois) 
Perrou, Judith Pons (Daniel B., Sr.) Bounous, Marie Bounous 
(John Henry) Pascal, Elda Gaydou (Philip) Bounous, Louise 
Rivoire (Laurent) Rivoire, Margaret Gardiol (Edward) Micol, 
3rd Row Standing L-R: Marie Meytre (Jacques) Meytre, Susanne 
Long (Eli) Bertalot, Lydia Martinat (Philip) Rostan, Ida Pascal 
(James Henry) Bounous, Jeanne Berger Bertalot (Frederick) 
Meytre, Jeanne Pascal (Jean Henri) Pascal, Madeleine Pons 
(Henry) Curville, Marianne Garrou (Ben) Pons, Louise Gaydou 
(John Henry) Pascal, Susanne Menusan (John Louis) Rostan, 
Louise Gaydou (John D.) Guigou, Mary Refour (Marshall) Ogle. 
• Helen Long(A1bert)B1eynat 

hut was built on the railroad right of way. The building was funded 
in part by $4,000 taken from the church's building fund. 

In anticipation of need for additional space for the educational 
program, a committee was appointed to document those needs and 
make recommendations. As a result of this study, at a meeting 
November 26, 1950, the congregation approved the establishment 
of a building program and the appointment of a Finance Committee 
and a Building Committee. 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 


NURSERY SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS — 1952 — Louise Perrou, Connie 
Hastings, Susan Deal, Harvey Jones, Jane Perrou, Bobby Martinat, Sharon 
Hudson, Marilyn Stiff, Jimmy Brinkley, Susanne Pascal, Claudia Pons, Betty 
Giraud, Evelyn Stiff, Cindy Stiff, Louise Grill, Charles Grill, Donald Brittain. 

Johnnie Gardner, Linda Burns, Rachel Micol, Benny Perrou, Toni Perrou, Vera 
Rutherford, Lucy Zimmerman, June Rostan, Mary Alice Powell, Elizabeth 
Garrou. Right Table L-R: Butch Pascal, Brooks Styles, Rene Dickerson, Paul 
Hastings, John Bleynat, Vivian Ogle Coffey, (unrecognized), Kathy Jones, Don 
Henry Martinat, Kenny Rector. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

A celebration of the 103rd Anniversary of the Edict of Emancipa- 
tion of the Waldenses with the Rev. J. P. Zaccara, pastor of Broome 
Street Presbyterian Church of New York and member of the Board 
of Directors of the Waldensian Aid Society as speaker, was held 
Friday, February 16, 1951. The pictorial plates of the church being 
sold to raise money for Waldensian Aid were made available. 

At a joint meeting of the session and diaconate on July 13, 1952, 
the officers agreed to pledge $6,000 to the Mid-Century Develop- 
ment Program of Union Seminary in Richmond. The money was to 
be paid over a period of five years. 

An important congregational meeting was held March 1, 1953. At 
this meeting, a budget for nine months was approved. The fiscal 
year of the church was changed to conform to the calendar year 
effective December 31, 1953. A report from the Building Committee 
was received and approved unanimously. The report authorized the 
committee to plan a campaign to raise between $125,000 and 
$150,000. It was also authorized to solicit funds for enlarging the 
sanctuary as well as expanding the educational facilities. The 
committee was authorized to borrow money as needed. A report in 
the April 5, 1954 church bulletin stated cash and pledges totaling 

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS — 1952 — 1st Row L-R: John 
Stephen Perrou, Jr., Jenelle Searcy, Weeta Searcy, Alton Pons, 
Louise Ann Verreault. 2nd Row L-R: Dale Eugene Bridges, Joan 
Hall, Ruth Williams, Julia Lee Ribet, Catherine Baker. 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 97 

$79,740 had been received, and this raised the total in the building 
fund to $106,661. The authorization to enlarge the sanctuary was 
withdrawn because the architect felt it was impractical. 

Miss Nancy Stikeleather of Statesville, a senior at Flora Mac- 
Donald College, arrived June 15, 1953 to serve as church secretary and 
Director of Religious Education for the summer. The church bulletin 
for August 16 reported the church picnic had been postponed due to 
the polio epidemic. 

The Building Committee, at a congregational meeting February 14, 
1954, requested approval to execute a contract with Herman-Sipe of 
Conover, North Carolina in the amount of $111,553 plus approx- 
imately $13,000 for the heating contract. It also requested authority to 
make changes as necessary and permission to conduct a campaign 
during March 1954 to raise the additional funds needed to construct 
the new Educational Building. Approval was given by the congrega- 

Youth Sunday was observed January 31, 1954, and at the session 
meeting on February 28, 1954, Rev. Styles expressed pleasure at the 
way the youth had handled the worship service. He was especially 
happy over the decision of one of the youth, Gregory Grana, to enter 
the ministry. 

Miss Mary Ruth Marshall of Hickory, a graduate of Montreat 
College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Education and 
Church Music, began work the first week of June 1954 as church 
secretary and first full-time Director of Christian Education. She 
continued in this capacity until her resignation August 30, 1956. 

The fifties brought a method of making buildings more comfortable 
in summer — air conditioning. At a July 25, 1954 joint meeting of the 
officers, it was decided to proceed with installing a refrigerated air 
conditioning system in the sanctuary at a cost not to exceed $5,000. 

Moderator Styles brought a suggestion from the diaconate to the 
session at its October meeting that the diaconate be increased from 
twelve to fifteen members. This was unanimously approved at a 
congregational meeting November 21, 1954. 

The church received a rather large bequest from the estate of Louis 
Bounous in 1954. This gift is still returning an annual income to the 
church. Louis Bounous was the son of Jean Bounous, one of the two 
scouts sent to North Carolina in the spring of 1893 to find suitable 
land for the colony. Jean Bounous joined the colony in 1902 with his 
family. Louis Bounous became the superintendent and vice-president 
of the Valdese Manufacturing Company. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

MARCH 17, 1954 — L-R: George W. Williams, Jr., Rev. Walter 
H. Styles, John Alex Guigou, John D. Guigou, Henry F. Garrou, 
W. Harold Mitchell, J. Armand Verreault, Emmanuel Perrou. 


Church with Completed EDUCATIONAL BUILDING 
Dedicated January 16, 1955 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 99 

The year 1954 brought an effort to unite the Presbyterian Church 
U.S., the United Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian 
Church U.S.A. Meetings were held during late 1954 and early 1955 
to study the plan of union. The Presbyterian Church U.S. voted 
against the plan later in 1955. 

January 16, 1955 brought the official use of the new Educational 
Building. Figures showing the church growth and activity for 1950 
through 1954 were released. 



Year SS 



Current Exp. 



1950 299 






1951 300 






1952 319 






1953 299 






1954 329 






Sunday School enrollment on January 16, 1955 was 336. The 
average weekly attendance during 1954 had been more than 210. 

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S. adopted 
a program for 1955-56 called "Forward With Christ." Each church 
appointed a committee to establish goals for the particular church 
during the year. The Waldensian Presbyterian Church adopted the 
following goals: 

1. Fifty new members 

2. An average of 300 present at church 

3. Enrollment gain often percent and an attendance gain 
of fifteen percent for Sunday School 

4. Reach ten percent more youth 

5. Twenty-five percent increase in enrollment and atten- 
dance in Men's work 

6. Women's work — enlist more women, continue study 
and service 

7. Emphasize tithing 

At the session meeting July 24, 1955, it was reported that the total 
cost of the Educational Building had been $147,387.11. Pledges 
totaled $80,000. A special program of tithing during September, 
October and November to help the church budget and building fund 
was adopted. 

In an attempt to meet a need for kindergarten care for children in 
Valdese, the session appointed a committee to study the matter and 
make recommendations. The committee reported on November 27, 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

and they were instructed to proceed with plans to open a kinder- 
garten. The kindergarten opened Monday, January 9, 1956 with 
Mrs. Frederic H. Pons, Sr. (lola Britt) as director. Classes were held 
from 9:00 to 12:00, Monday through Friday, and were limited to 
twenty children. Classes were held on the first floor of the Educa- 
tional Building. Fees were set at $15 per month. 

At the meeting of Concord Presbytery on January 17, 1956, the 
Rev. Walter H. Styles was elected commissioner to the General 
Assembly to be held in Montreat, May 31 to June 6. He was also 
elected chairman of the commissioners from Concord Presbytery. 

In 1956, the 108th Anniversary of the Edict of Emancipation was 
celebrated with special entertainment by the Youth Team dancing 
the Courenta. This group had won several awards participating in 
Folk Dance Festivals in Asheville and Virginia Beach. 

COURENTA DANCE TEAM — Performed for the February 17th 
Celebration in 1956 — 1st Row L-R: Pamela Briggs, Frances 
Bounous, Dianne Tron, Janet Micol, Mary Louise Pascal, Gigi 
Grill, Sandra Gilreath, Linda Grana, Rachel Micol. 2nd Row L-R: 
Harold Murray, James H. Rostan, Albert Pascal, Paul Weir, Bart 
(Bartholomew) Bounous, Steve Rostan, John P. Rostan III, Brooks 
Styles, Albert Perrou. Accordian Player — James H. Pascal. 

Gregory Grana appeared before the session on March 18, 1956, 
giving his reasons for entering the ministry and asking for the 
endorsement of the session. The session gave advice and encourage- 
ment and unanimous endorsement. Gregory was the first member 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 101 

of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church to seek to enter the 
ministry. He was examined at the meeting of Concord Presbytery 
held in Valdese, April 17, 1956. 

A series of special services was conducted by the Rev. John D. 
Smith of First Church, Morganton, North Carolina, March 24 
through 28, 1957. The title of the services was "Built On the Rock." 

Elder John D. Guigou represented Concord Presbytery as a 
commissioner to the General Assembly held at South Highland 
Church in Birmingham, Alabama, April 25-30, 1957. He reported to 
presbytery on July 23 at a meeting at Lees-McRae College, Banner 
Elk, North Carolina. 

Church membership on December 31, 1957 was listed at 593. 
Sunday School enrollment was 335 with an average attendance 
during 1957 of 210. 

October 13, 1957 was observed as Churchwide Laymen's Day. 
Elder George W. Williams, Jr. presided, and W. Harold Mitchell 
delivered the sermon. 

The congregation passed a resolution during the congregational 
meeting held November 3, 1957, requiring a two-year period 
between terms of those serving on either the session or diaconate. 

The Rev. Mr. Styles announced at the morning worship April 4, 
1958, that Miss Yvonne Raftelis, upon graduation from Assembly 
Training School in Richmond, Virginia, had accepted the position 
of Director of Religious Education. Her work began June 1, 1958. 

Mr. Styles left May 5 for two weeks of study at Union Theological 
Seminary, Richmond, as a Tower Scholar. 

The year 1958 was an eventful year for the Women of the Church. 
The organization, consisting of ten circles with 222 active women, 
presented eight folding tables for use in Pioneer Hall. The Women 
hosted the fifty-second annual meeting of the Women of the Church 
of Concord Presbytery, November 5 and 6. 

With deep regret, the congregation concurred with the Rev. Mr. 
Styles' request that his pastoral relationship with the church be 
dissolved effective December 15, 1958. The action was taken at a 
congregational meeting called for this purpose at the close of the 
morning worship November 23, 1958. Mr. Styles accepted the 
pastorate of Faith Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida. 
The worship service of December 14, 1958 marked Mr. Styles' 415th 
sermon delivered to the church and ended eight and three quarter 
years of pastorate. An interesting note is that during his pastorate, 
forty-two spouses of members who had held membership in other 

102 History of the Waldensian Presb5^erian Church 

churches became members of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church. 

Dr. George E. Staples, Minister of Students at Davidson College, 
Davidson, North Carolina, began service as stated supply on 
January 11, 1959. He commuted each Sunday and was available 
when needed. Dr. George Staples completed his service as supply 
pastor on May 3, 1959, and a covered dish dinner was held in 
Pioneer Hall in his honor. On this date, it was announced that the 
debt on the Educational Building had been paid, and the church was 
now debt free. 

A congregational meeting held on March 29, 1959 heard a report 
from the Pulpit Nominating Committee. The committee nomi- 
nated the Rev. J. Clyde Plexico, Jr., pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Church of Cartersville, Georgia, to serve as pastor. The nomination 
was unanimously approved. Mr. Plexico, his wife Miriam, and 
children Sandra, Clark and Dale moved to Valdese the first week of 
May. His first sermon was on May 10, 1959. The sermon subject was 
"The Coming of God in Power." A reception to welcome the Plexico 
family was held May 17, and Mr. Plexico was officially installed as 
pastor July 26, 1959. 

A congregational meeting was held April 5, 1959 to hear the 
report of the officers' recommendations on the building of a new 
manse. The congregation approved the appointment of a committee 
to: (1) Acquire a lot of their choosing in a suitable residential area; 
(2) employ an architect; (3) prepare plans and specifications; (4) 
prepare a plan of financing; and (5) report to the congregation as 
soon as possible. The committee reported on July 26, 1959 at a 
congregational meeting which authorized them to proceed with the 
construction of a manse on North Laurel Road at an estimated cost 
of $50,000. 

May 31, 1959 marked the end of Miss Yvonne Raftelis' service as 
Director of Christian Education. She left to be married to the Rev. 
Thomas Miller, a Presbyterian minister. The congregation ex- 
pressed its sincere appreciation for her service and wished her well 
in her future life. 

The worship bulletin for June 21, 1959 noted that Miss Elizabeth 
Steele of Statesville, North Carolina, would serve as Director of 
Christian Education for the remaining summer months. Miss 
Steele worked until September 1, 1959 when she returned to college. 

The church bulletin for September 6, 1959 announced the first 
practice for a group of children's choirs. The Cherub, Melody, 
Junior and Youth Choirs were to begin practice that week. These 

Exp£insion, Involvement, Witness 


choirs with sUght changes have remained a part of our music 
program to this day. 

The first officers' retreat was held at Camp Grier on Friday 
evening, September 11, 1959 and Saturday morning, September 12. 
Elders, deacons and their wives attended the retreat where long 
range plans for the church were discussed. 

A Dial-A-Prayer telephone line was installed at the church, and 
service began September 20, 1959. A recorded prayer and thought 
for the day was heard when the number was dialed. 

In preparation for a week of spiritual enrichment services, 
cottage prayer meetings were held in thirteen homes on Thursday, 
October 15, 1959. The services were conducted by the Rev. Dr. S.W. 
Dendy, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dalton, Georgia. 

In October 1959, plans were made to present a live Christmas 
scene on the church lawn. Volunteers were asked to assist in 
preparing for this presentation. This ministry has been expanded 
and improved and has been enjoyed each year since it began. 

Philip H. Garrou, chairman of the Manse Building Committee, 
reported on November 22, 1959 that contracts had been signed for 
the construction of the manse. The total cost including land was to 
be $50,241.76. Construction would take approximately eight 
months. The manse was dedicated in a service held at the new 
manse on Sunday, September 18, 1960. 

New Manse on Laurel Road — Dedicated September 18, 1960 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

December 6, 1959 brought the dedication of new hymnals, 
donated as a memorial gift. 

Ann Long Hern (Mrs. Joe Hern, Jr.) was employed as the first 
part- time church secretary in 1959. She served until July 1962. 
Hazel Coley Bounous (Mrs. Daniel B. Bounous, Jr.) began work as 
part-time secretary in 1962. It was not until 1974 that a full-time 
secretary was employed. 

The session meeting of January 24, 1960 was a notable one in the 
life of the church. The second young man in the history of the 
church announced his decision to be a candidate for the ministry. 
Joseph A. Verreault III, grandson of a former pastor, Rev. J.A. 
Verreault, was received as a candidate by Concord Presbj^ery on 
July 19, 1960. He entered Union Theological Seminary at Rich- 
mond, Virginia during the fall of that year. 

Front Row L-R: Madeleine Pons (Henri) Curville, Elda Gaydou 
(Philip) Bounous, Evelyn Pons (Leroy) Bronson, Madeleine 
Rostan (Emile) Squillario. Back Row L-R: Henri Curville, Peter 
A. Meytre, Marian Morrison, Maxine Briggs Hightower, John 
Alex Guigou, Catherine Rivoire Cole, Louise Gaydou (John D.) 
Guigou, Olga Pascal, Marie Ferrier (James Henry) Pascal, 
Frances Micol (Edward) Pascal, Rosalba Pascal (Kenneth) Shook, 
Ruth McQuiston (George W., Jr.) Williams, Director; Nell 
Saunders (Leon) Guigou. 

The announcement was made March 20, 1960 that Miss Shirley 
Gilliam, student at Presbyterian School of Christian Education at 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 105 

Richmond, would be coming to work as Director of Christian 
Education upon graduation. She began work July 7, 1960. 

A Men of the Church Fall Rally was held at Barium Springs 
Home for Children on Tuesday, September 13, 1960. W. Harold 
Mitchell was installed as President of the Men of Concord Presby- 
tery, and John A. Bleynat was installed as secretary. 

A presbytery-wide meeting was held at Statesville High School 
Auditorium at 8:00 pm Thursday, October 6, 1960. The meeting was 
the kick-off for "Evangelism Emphasis" proposed by the General 
Assembly. A cavalcade from Valdese attended the session. Cottage 
prayer meetings were held Thursday, October 13, at 7:30 pm in 
twenty-one homes to support the week of Spiritual Enrichment 
Services scheduled for October 16-23. Guest minister was the Rev. 
Dr. Harry K. Holland from First Presbyterian Church of Marietta, 

During the installation and ordination service for church officers 
held January 1, 1961, the congregation dedicated itself to "A New 
Commitment in a New Century." The new commitment was to a 
greater emphasis and participation in evangelism. The year 1961 
marked the beginning of the second century of the Presbyterian 
Church in the United States (Southern). 

Mr. Plexico left January 23, 1961 for two weeks of intensive study 
as a Tower Room Scholar at Union Theological Seminary in 
Richmond, Virginia. 

The statistical report for December 31, 1960 showed 622 commu- 
nicants on roll. This was the largest membership in the history of 
the church as of that date. A total of $60,515.66 was reported as the 
giving of the church. Average Sunday School attendance during 

1960 was 226. 

A series of special services began on Palm Sunday, March 26, 

1961 with the Rev. Mr. Plexico as speaker. Good Friday services 
were held from 12:00 to 3:00 P.M. with different speakers from the 
local churches. Short services were held every twenty-five minutes 
during the three hours. 

The Waldensian Presbyterian Church hosted a meeting of Con- 
cord Presbytery Tuesday, April 18, 1961. 

The September 10, 1961 worship bulletin announced a series of 
meetings to be held in various homes of the congregation. The 
meetings were to be in a different home each week and were 
designed to afford the area members of the congregation an 
opportunity to meet and talk with the pastor in small groups. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

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Expansion, Involvement, Witness 107 

The October 29, 1961 worship bulletin reported that representa- 
tives of West German television visited Valdese and our church 
during the week. They were preparing a television show on the 
world's great religions, and a portion will feature the Waldensian 
Church of Italy. Scenes of the town and church were filmed. The 
meeting of the Tuesday Evening Leadership Class was filmed. The 
French Choir provided hymns for background music. 

A change in election procedures was approved at the congrega- 
tional meeting of November 26, 1961. Church members nominated 
double the number of men needed for elders or deacons. The 
following Sunday the required number receiving the highest num- 
ber of votes were elected to office by acclamation. 

The session voted on February 10, 1962 to participate in the 
support of a missionary to Japan in the amount of $3,000 annually. 
The missionary was Miss Lois Grier Moore, an educational 

Miss Shirley Gilliam, Director of Christian Education, presented 
a plan to the session on March 4, 1962 for a future caravan of the 
Youth Fellowship members to tour various churches, schools, 
colleges and seminaries of the Presbyterian Church to learn more 
about the work of the church. The caravan was originally scheduled 
for the first week of July, 1962 but was not carried out until May 30 
through June 7, 1963, due to problems in getting organized. The 
cost was borne by the members of the Youth Fellowship. 

The worship bulletin for May 20, 1962 carried the announcement 
of the installation of a new Allen organ. The new Allen electric 
organ was dedicated at a worship service held at 5:00 P.M, Septem- 
ber 23, 1962. The organist at Christ Church in Charlotte, North 
Carolina, Mr. Richard Van Sciver, gave a recital. Mrs. Dorothy 
Lowdermilk Harwell was soloist. 

A new program was offered the youth of the church in June of 
1962, which gave the first opportunity to participate in a Vocational 
Guidance program through a local church program and the Presby- 
terian Guidance Center at St. Andrews College. This program has 
been offered to the youth of the church each year since 1962 with 
great success and meaning for the participants. 

The September 1962 issue of the Presbyterian Survey carried a 
feature article on the Waldensian Church. Also in September, 
approximately twenty- five officers and their wives attended a 
retreat at the Waldensian Club House on Mineral Springs Moun- 
tain. After an evening meal, the program of the church, the 

108 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Covenant Life Curriculum, and evangelism were discussed. The 
retreat ended with the observance of the Lord's Supper. At a session 
meeting on September 23, the session agreed to a study of the 
Covenant Life Curriculum to prepare for its use in the local church. 
A committee was appointed to conduct an evaluation and study of 
the material. 

During 1962, a new road was built into the Waldensian Cemetery 
approaching from the south side. All roads in the cemetery were 

The Waldensian Presbyterian Church participated in a new 
program providing a chaplain for Valdese General Hospital. Local 
church ministers served as chaplain one week at a time. The Rev. 
Mr. Plexico served the first week of the new program. The church 
planned for two services for Easter Sunday at 9:30 and 11:00 A.M. 
in 1963. 

At a meeting on May 19, 1963, the congregation approved a plan 
to conduct a special fund drive the last two weeks of June to raise 
money to liquidate the debt on the manse. The amount currently 
budgeted was diverted to the Presbyterian Development Fund until 
a total of $19,000 was paid. There would be no capital fund 
programs accepted until after 1966. 

At the May 19 worship service, Shirley Gilliam announced her 
resignation effective June 25, 1963. She resigned to accept a 
position with Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North 
Carolina as a youth worker. Her resignation was accepted with 

Mr. Donn W. Wright, a student at Columbia Seminary, began 
work June 16, 1963 as summer Director of Christian Education. 
The worship bulletin for June 30, 1963 reported Mrs. John Heilman 
(Margaret Garrou) had been employed to direct the weekday 

The committee to study the Covenant Life Curriculum made its 
report to the session August 25, 1963. The committee recommended 
the adoption of the curriculum to begin October 1, 1963. The 
session approved the recommendations. 

Two morning services were begun on October 13, 1963. The first 
service was at 8:45 A.M. with music by the Youth and Boys' Choirs. 
The second service was at 11:00 A.M. with music by the Chancel 
Choir. This worship arrangement continued through December of 
1963. The early service was discontinued with the statement that it 
would be studied again in March. 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 109 

The session at its January 19, 1964 meeting endorsed Gregory 
Grana for appointment as a foreign missionary. The session stated 
in their judgment he possessed such quaUfications for this work as 
would render his appointment proper and good. 

During the session meeting March 1, 1964, a motion was made 
and approved to begin planning a day of recognition for Mrs. 
George Williams (Ruth McQuiston), who had led our church music 
program for approximately thirty years. The event was held on May 
3, 1964. A special program of favorite anthems was given. Mrs. 
Williams was given a plaque and a charm for her bracelet. The 
congregation was privately canvassed, and the Ruth M. Williams 
Music Scholarship Fund was set up and announced on that day. 
This scholarship continues to assist young musicians with their 
college training. 

Also during the March 1 meeting of the session, the Rev. Clyde 
Jones, a Baptist minister residing in Valdese, was employed as 
Director of Christian Education for a period of six months. Mr. 
Jones was a graduate of Baylor University and Southern Baptist 
Theological Seminary. He was under the care of the Presbytery's 
Commission on the Ministry preparatory to becoming a Presby- 
terian minister. The session, at its September 9 meeting, extended 
the employment of the Rev. Clyde Jones as Director of Christian 

The April 26, 1964 worship bulletin contained several interesting 
announcements. Concord Presbytery met Tuesday, April 21, at 
Back Creek Church. Mr. Plexico was elected moderator-nominee 
for the July meeting of presbytery. Also, April 26 marked the 
beginning of a week of special services led by Dr. F. Crossley 
Morgan. Fifteen home prayer meetings were held the prior week to 
prepare for this series of services. 

The moderator announced at the May 10 meeting of the session 
that our sponsored missionary, Miss Lois Grier Moore, would not 
be returning to the mission field. As an alternative, it was suggested 
that the church support the Rev. and Mrs. Gregory Grana as 
missionaries for a total of $7,200. 

July 26, 1964 marked a historic first for the Waldensian Presby- 
terian Church. A commission from Concord Presbj^tery came to 
Valdese to ordain Gregory Grana as an Evangelist. This was the 
first ordination of a son of this church. His parents were Michael 
and Henrietta (Rostan) Grana. It was a unique circumstance which 
permitted his ordination in his home church. Since he was not being 

110 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

installed to serve a particular church, it was possible to hold the 
service in his home church. The Rev. Grana and his wife, the former 
Janice Timmons, were to go to the Belgian Congo as Evangelistic 
and Christian Education Missionaries. They left the United States 
August 13 for Belgium for one year's study. While in Brussels, their 
son Andrew was born on October 28, 1964. 

The congregation approved a new election procedure on Septem- 
ber 16, 1964. In the future, the retiring elders and deacons would 
serve as a nominating committee. The committee would nominate 
twice the number to be elected. The third Sunday of September 
would be the election day for elders and the second Sunday of 
October the election day for deacons. 

During the congregational meetings to elect officers in 1964, two 
very significant events took place. At the October 11 meeting, Mrs. 
J. Laird Jacob, Sr. (Jeanne Verreault) was elected an elder, and at 
the October 25 meeting, Mrs. Leroy Bronson (Evelyn Pons) was 
elected a deacon. These were the first two women elected as officers 
in the Waldensian Presbyterian Church. Both were daughters of 
former pastors of the church. Mrs. Jacob was the daughter of the 
Rev. J. A. Verreault, Sr., and Mrs. Bronson was the daughter of the 
Rev. John Pons. Their election was made possible by a change in 
the Book of Church Order, approved at the General Assembly 
earlier in 1964, providing for the election of women officers. Prior to 
this time, women had not been permitted to serve as church officers. 

Elder Jeanne Jacob made history again by attending a meeting of 
Concord Presbytery with Mr. Plexico at Davidson College Church 
on January 19, 1965. She was the first woman elder to represent the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church at a presbytery meeting and the 
first woman elder to attend a meeting of Concord Presbytery. 

Concord Presbytery met October 20, 1964 at Lees McRae Col- 
lege, Banner Elk, North Carolina. Mr. Plexico served as Moderator 
during the meeting. He was also elected a commissioner to the 
General Assembly scheduled to meet in Montreat, North Carolina 
in April of 1965. At an adjourned meeting of presbytery held in 
Statesville, North Carolina, on October 27, Mr. Plexico was elected 
Chairman of the Commissioners to General Assembly. 

The Rev. Clyde Jones tendered his resignation as Director of 
Christian Education at the session meeting December 6, 1964. Mr. 
Jones resigned effective December 31, 1964 in order to pursue his 
studies. His resignation was regretfully accepted. 

In 1964, John Stephen Perrou, Jr., who held membership in this 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 111 

church as a youth, was ordained to the gospel ministry at the Cedar 
Rock Baptist Church in Castallia, North Carolina. He was the son 
of John Stephen and Mary Margaret (Mackie) Perrou. He was a 
1963 graduate of the University of Tennessee and received the 
Master of Divinity Degree from Southeastern Baptist Seminary at 
Wake Forest, North Carolina in June 1968. 

Miss Elizabeth Jean Lunsford arrived the first week of June 1965 
to serve as our summer Director of Christian Education. She was a 
recent graduate of Montreat-Anderson College. 

The session called Donn Wilson Wright to serve as our Director 
of Christian Education and Assistant Minister at the session 
meeting August 26, 1965. Mr. Wright had served as summer 
Director of Christian Education in 1963. He moved to Valdese on 
September 1 and began his work on Thursday, September 2, 1965. 
He was received by Concord Presbytery, Tuesday, October 19, at its 
meeting in Mt. Mourne, North Carolina, and was ordained in 
Valdese, October 31, 1965. Donn Wright was the first Assistant 
Minister to serve the church. 

Also at the August 26, 1965 meeting, the session voted to 
discontinue the weekday kindergarten program. This action was 
taken due to lack of enrollment and in accordance with the by-laws 
under which the kindergarten operated. 

On September 1, 1965, Mr. R.L. Pyatt began work as business 
manager for the church. He was to oversee the maintenance and 
upkeep of property and supervise the non-professional staff. He 
served in this capacity until December 31, 1966. His service to the 
church was appreciated. 

The minutes of the session meeting October 17, 1965 record the 
fact that Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Rostan, Sr. gave to the church the 
property on the east side of the church bordering South Italy Street. 
The deed was filed November 5, 1965. This action gave the church 
ownership of the entire block bordered by Main, Italy, St. Germain 
and Rodoret Streets. This was the realization of a dream expressed 
by the Rev. Albert McClure at his last joint meeting of the officers 
on January 8, 1950 prior to assuming his duties at Barium Springs 
Home for Children. 

December 1965 initiated the first dramatized Christmas scene. 
Prior to this time, the scene had used live actors but only in 
stationary poses. The dramatized production has continued each 
year and has been an important event in the life of our youth and a 
meaningful service to the community. 

112 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

The church Hbrary was relocated in the room next to the church 
secretary's office in December 1965. The statistical report for 1965 
showed 689 communicant members. Benevolent giving totaled 
$36,049, and current expenses totaled $40,589. There was $13,760 
given to the building fund for a grand total of $90,398. The Sunday 
School enrollment was 311. 

On February 20, 1966, the Rev. Gregory Grana, assisted by Dr. 
Francis Ghigo and others, led a French worship service. A total of 
348 people attended this service. 

The worship bulletin for March 5, 1966 announced that repairs 
were being made to the sanctuary floor, and services would be held 
in Pioneer Hall for the month of March. The session approved 
borrowing up to $15,000 for the repairs. The work done included: (1) 
Installing a footing drain system and waterproofing all under- 
ground walls of the sanctuary, Tron Hall and Pioneer Hall; (2) 
Removing the oak floor in the sanctuary which was on concrete and 
replacing it with lightweight concrete; (3) Repainting the sanctu- 
ary; (4) Replacing all rotted baseboards, floors, and other woodwork 
in Pioneer and Tron Halls. 

The session at its meeting March 27, 1966 approved plans 
presented by the Rev. Donn Wright for making the old manse 
building into a Christ-centered coffee house for the young people. 
He was authorized to proceed with plans. The chairman of the 
Planning and Research Committee reported there seemed to be 
little interest in building a museum. The committee suggested 
postponement for the present. The possibility of converting Tron 
Hall into a museum was discussed but no action taken. 

The worship bulletin for July 10, 1966 announced the opening 
Friday night of the Maze Coffee House. "The Maze is open to all 
fifteen years of age and older who are interested in conversation. 
The Maze will be open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 

The session meeting of September 26, 1966 brought action on the 
proposal made March 27, 1966 concerning renovating Tron Hall for 
a museum. The Museum Building and Planning Committee had 
furnished more specific plans on June 17, 1966 for the renovation. 
These plans were adopted, and the diaconate was instructed to take 
steps to implement the plans in accordance with the guidelines 
furnished by the Museum Building and Planning Committee. 

A year-end report stated that the Rev. and Mrs. Gregory Grana 
were now in Nashville, Tennessee. He was serving as Candidate 

Expansion, Involvement, Witness 113 

Secretary of the Board of World Missions. The Granas were unable 
to go to the Belgian Congo as planned due to the health of their son 
Andrew. A daughter Lisa Marguerite was born June 9, 1966. 

The statistical report for 1966 showed 677 communicants. Sun- 
day School enrollment was 316. Benevolent giving was $38,948.76, 
current expenses were $46,920.15, and the building fund amounted 
to $19,447.25, for a grand total of $105,316,76. 

The worship bulletin of September 3, 1967 reported: "Contracts 
have been signed with Guy Frye and Sons to renovate Tron Hall for 
a museum. Plans have been approved by the Historical Committee 
and the Museum Building Committee. All present partitions will be 
removed and glassed partitions installed along each wall. There will 
be glass cabinets in the center of the room. The cost will be $8,000." 

The congregation was called to meet September 24, 1967 for the 
purpose of considering a recommendation by the session that the 
congregation review the procedure for election of church officers. 
The recommendation was not explicit enough, and the congrega- 
tion asked the session to appoint a committee to recommend a more 
detailed plan. At another meeting called for October 8, the congre- 
gation received a more detailed procedure and approved the plan. 
The plan was a combination of congregational nominations and the 
use of a nominating committee. 

The session met on October 22 and received the resignation of the 
Rev. Donn W. Wright as Assistant Minister and Director of 
Christian Education to be effective October 31, 1967. Mr. Wright 
resigned to accept the position of Assistant Minister of Trinity 
Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tennessee. The resignation was 
regretfully accepted. 

At a meeting of Concord Presbytery on October 17 held at 
Northminster Church, Hickory, Elder Edward Pascal was elected to 
serve as commissioner to the General Assembly to be held in May 
1968 in Montreat. 

The worship bulletin for December 17, 1967 contained a notice 
that a steering committee was elected to plan the celebration of the 
seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of Valdese. The statement 
did not mention who elected the committee, but it was evidently the 
town council. Named to the committee were Gerald Baker, Chair- 
man; Walter Boone, Sebren Cannon, Evelyn Bronson, Haynes 
Rutherford and Howard Wilkie. 

The seventy-fifth anniversary included Heritage Sunday, which 
was observed May 26, 1968, with the Waldensian Presbyterian 

114 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Church participating in the community observance. Special music 
was presented during the morning worship, and during the evening, 
a community service was held on the high school football field. 
Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. spoke on "Religious Freedom and 
American Democracy." Numerous events were held during the year 
to commemorate the beginnings of the town. One of the events 
which began during the year and continues to this day is the outdoor 
drama. From This Day Forward, written by Fred Cranford, a 
Valdese native. The drama tells the story of the early history of the 
Waldensian people and the founding of Valdese. The 1992 season 
marked the twenty-fifth consecutive year of the production. 

The statistical report for 1967 showed 693 communicants with 
295 enrolled in Sunday School. Benevolent giving was $36,856, 
current expenses $56,486, and the building fund $9,511, making a 
total of $101,853. 

The session at its meeting March 24, 1968 called Mr. Ray Waters, 
a student at Louisville Theological Seminary, to serve as summer 
assistant. He worked in Valdese from the last week of May through 
the first week of September 1968. His wife Patsy worked as 
assistant in the music program. 

The worship bulletin for April 14, 1968 announced the schedule 
of services for Easter week. Morning worship services were to be at 
8:45 and 11:00 A.M. These dual services continued through the 
month of May. The April 21 bulletin announced that Concord 
Presbytery would meet in our church April 23, 1968. The chancel 
choir and elders participated in the worship service. 

At a congregational meeting, the Rev. Mr. Plexico requested the 
congregation concur in asking Concord Presbytery to dissolve his 
pastoral relationship with the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 
effective August 20, 1968. The congregation concurred with regret. 
The Rev. Plexico left Valdese to accept the pastorate of Metairie 
Ridge Presbyterian Church, New Orleans, Louisiana. He had 
completed just over nine years and three months as pastor of the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church. The session was authorized to 
appoint a pulpit nominating committee to begin work immediately 
to secure a minister. 

On August 18, 1968, a special union service was held at First 
Baptist Church to recognize Mr. Plexico's service to the community 
and his church. The service was planned by the Methodist and 
Baptist ministers of the community. There was special music by the 
combined church choirs of the town. 


Commitment and Service to 

Christ and Community 


"Commit thy way unto the Lord, 
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. " 

Psalm 37:5 

An expansion of our commitment to Christ's church and 
to the needs of our community. 

January 1969 ushered in a period of numerous changes. The 
church took on a new interest and direction with the arrival of a new 
minister, the Rev. Paul H. Felker; his wife Carol Price Felker; and 
three sons, Mark, Alan and Eric. Mr. Felker assumed the pastorate 
of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church on January 16, 1969. 

One of the first acts of the new minister was to start in February a 
monthly newsletter, which by the second edition was identified as 
the Waldensian Herald. It included information about the various 
programs of the church, listed births, deaths, new members, and 
other newsworthy items. This service was appreciated by the 
congregation and proved to be such an asset that the Waldensian 
Herald continues in use twenty-three years later. 

The traditional celebration of the Emancipation of the Wal- 
denses was held in Pioneer Hall in 1969 with Mr. Harold Noyes, 
Executive Director of the American Waldensian Aid Society, New 
York, as guest speaker. This became a memorable evening because 
of the snow which began falling during the program. By the time the 
snow ended late the following day, it had reached a depth of twenty- 
three inches, the deepest snow in the memory of most of the 
congregation. It necessitated the cancellation of Sunday services 
and paralyzed the community for several days. 

Following the bad winter, the Easter season was welcomed by all. 
The ecumenical Easter Sunrise service on April 6 in the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church Cemetery was well attended. The youth choir 
provided music for the service. A breakfast, prepared by the Men of 
the Church, was served afterwards in Pioneer Hall. The church 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

provided worship services at 8:45 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. in the 
sanctuary. The special offering of the day amounted to $1,900.95 and 
went to the American Waldensian Aid Society. The society has 
functioned since the turn of the 20th century with the expressed 
purpose of raising funds for the benevolent programs of the Walden- 
sian Church of Italy, maintaining communication between Ameri- 
cans of Waldensian descent, preserving Waldensian heritage, and 
planning tours by dignitaries of the Waldensian Church of Italy. 

Miss Rachel Micol, member of the church and daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. Robert Micol (Frances Deal), and a graduate of East 
Carolina University, was hired as temporary Director of Christian 
Education for the summer of 1969. She did a most acceptable job 
planning various youth activities. Following her summer's work, she 
entered Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond 
to prepare to be a Director of Christian Education. Rachel was the 
second member of this church to attend that institution. That 
summer, twenty- six children and youth attended camps and 
conferences at Camp Grier, the presbytery camp. Three young 
people attended the World Mission Conference at Montreat. 

The church had expressed a desire to again become partial 
supporters of foreign missionaries. With the help of the World 
Mission Board, we were able to secure two missionaries who were 

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Dr. and Mrs. 
Walter Hull, 
to Zaire with 
Leigh Anne 
and Maria 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 117 

going to the mission field. Dr. and Mrs. Walter Hull and their 
daughters, Leigh Anne and Maria, came from the Mission Confer- 
ence in Montreat to visit in the church before they left for language 
school in Brussels, Belgium. The family was warmly received by the 
church, and mission emphasis was to take on new significance in 
the life of the church. 

The Historical Committee saw the need of a consultant to help 
with the organization of artifacts displayed in Tron Hall. Consid- 
eration was also given to building a separate structure to house the 
historical collection. Dr. Thomas Spence of the Presbyterian 
Historical Foundation in Montreat served as consultant and pro- 
vided the group with excellent advice. 

In August 1969, the congregation was honored to have a son of the 
church, the Rev. Gregory Grana, to conduct a morning worship 
service. He was then serving on the staff of the Division of World 
Missions, Nashville, Tennessee. 

Youth began to play a special part in the worship services. On 
December 14, they presented a Christmas Vesper Service. On 
December 21, they joined the Chancel Choir in presenting their 
cantata. They also played major roles in the annual production of 
the outdoor nativity scene. 

The December 1969 issue of Presbyterian Life, a publication of 
the United Presbyterian Church, USA, featured a cover picture and 
four-page article on Valdese and the historical drama. From This 
Day Forward. In addition to group pictures, individual pictures were 
shown of Mrs. John D. Guigou (Louise Gaydou) in the church 
museum, actor John Heilman, drama director Gigi Grill, and town 
leaders Valdo Martinat and J. P. Rostan, Sr. A picture of the church 
was also included. 

Waldensian Presbyterian Church, feeling a close kinship with the 
presbytery, was honored to have six members of the church serving 
on presbytery's committees. The end of the year 1969 saw the 
congregation adopt a budget for 1970 for $92,655.14. The church 
ranked second in benevolent giving in Concord Presbytery with 
$35,447 in 1969. 

In January 1970, the congregation welcomed the Rev. Ford 
G'Segner to serve as Minister of Education and Assistant Pastor. In 
February, he was ordained by a commission from Concord Presby- 
tery. The young minister was a graduate of North Georgia College 
and Columbia Theological Seminary. His wife, the former Susie 
DeLoach, and daughter Donna accompanied him. Because of his 

118 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

youth, ability and understanding, he soon established a close 
relationship with the youth of the church. 

The annual observance of the Waldensian Emancipation of 1848 
was a highlight of 1970. Dr. Robert Pascal presented the program, a 
slide presentation of the Waldensian Valleys, in which he showed 
slides of the villages, homes and many relatives of the original 
settlers of Valdese. His program was entitled "A Tour of Ancestral 
Villages and Churches," 

In 1970, the Valdese Ministerial Association planned and exe- 
cuted a series of Holy Week services in which our church partici- 
pated. Planned for the noon hour, they were designed to secure 
attendance not only of retired individuals but also of employees of 
the industries on their lunch hour. The site of the old Colonial 
Theatre, abandoned for years, was chosen to appear non-denomi- 
national. Services were conducted by area ministers and musicians. 
Attendance was excellent, but the site was hardly conducive to 
worship as rats scurried over the feet of the worshippers. The result 
was that in succeeding years the services have been held in the 
sanctuary of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church, which is the 
church most centrally located in town. These services have contin- 
ued for two decades, being held in the First Baptist Church and the 
First United Methodist Church on two occasions when our sanctu- 
ary was being renovated. 

Under the direction of the Minister of Education, THE MAZE, a 
youth center housed in the old manse across the street from the 
church, was reopened. It opened in March and became a gathering 
place for youth for Sunday School and on several nights a week. 

In April 1970, we were honored with a visit by the Moderator of 
the Waldensian Church of Italy and his wife. Pastor Neri Giampic- 
coli addressed the congregation at a special meeting. That was a 
particularly lovely spring, with the dogwoods and azaleas in full 
bloom. The Giampiccolis were enchanted by the beauty of our area 
and reveled in the dogwood trees which they had never seen. 

In August 1970, Rev. Felker served as a fraternal delegate from 
the Presbyterian Church, U.S. to the Waldensian Synod meeting in 
Torre Pellice, Italy. Rev. and Mrs. Felker were treated like royalty as 
they visited historical sites, toured the ancestral villages of Valdese 
natives, toured numerous church institutions, participated in nu- 
merous worship services, met with church officials, and enjoyed the 
celebration of the Glorious Return. The Vice Moderator and Mrs. 
Achille Deodato planned the tour and accompanied them. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 119 

One of the highUghts of the fall was the church retreat in 
September at Camp Grier in Old Fort, North Carolina. Families and 
individuals were in attendance with some camping out or staying in 
their travel trailers, while others lodged in the dormitories. One 
hundred fifty-seven attended. 

In the fall of 1970, a new cemetery entrance was constructed. 
Built of yellow Roman brick with the name of the cemetery on a 
special marker, it became a worthy addition to the sacred spot. It 
was given as a memorial gift. 

A new program was introduced into the Adult Division of the 
Church School that fall. The three classes established were: (1) 
Uniform Lesson Cooperative Series, (2) Covenant Life Curriculum, 
and (3) Adult Response — a class which looked at contemporary 
issues and the appropriate response by Christian adults. Again the 
church hosted the Union Thanksgiving Service. The church also 
broadcast worship services for a month over the local radio station 

Word was received that the church sponsored missionaries, Dr. 
and Mrs. Walter Hull, had completed their year of language study in 
Brussels and had begun their service in Zaire. The church demon- 
strated its support of the missionaries by several worthwhile 
projects. The Men of the Church provided a camera and film for 
them. To aid the Hulls in their hospital work, between $4,000 to 
$5,000 in sample drugs was collected from area drug stores, packed 
in drums and made ready for shipment by December 12, 1970. The 
Women of the Church provided their services to remove the drugs 
from individual packages and group like medications in larger 

The annual celebration of the Waldensian Emancipation was 
held on February 15, 1971 with Rev. Paul Felker showing slides of 
the tour he and Mrs. Felker had made the previous year to the 
Waldensian Valleys. His review included pictures of Waldensian 
churches and institutions they had visited in Rome, Florence, 
Milan, the Waldensian Valleys, and the tour of Reformation sites in 
Geneva, Switzerland. In April, Rev. and Mrs. Felker journeyed to 
Princeton, New Jersey to give the same program to the Waldensian 
Aid Chapter in that city. 

In 1971, a special project was designed to focus attention on world 
hunger. Members of the congregation engaged in a Day of Prayer 
and Fasting on Maundy Thursday. That night, they gathered in 
Pioneer Hall for a rice supper followed by a communion service. 

120 History of the Waldensian Presbjrterian Church 

Never had a small bowl of rice tasted so good to those who 
participated in the event. 

Within the Synod of North Carolina, there was to be restructur- 
ing of some of the presbyteries in 1971. The new presbytery in our 
geographic area was to be composed of Concord, Winston Salem, 
and Kings Mountain Presbyteries. The organizational meeting was 
held in Gastonia with Rev. Felker, Rev. Ford G'Segner, and Elders 
Edward Pons and John Bleynat in attendance. The name of 
"Covenant" was first chosen for the new presbytery. That was later 
changed to Concord because of the long history of that former 
presbytery. Barium Springs, North Carolina was chosen as the site 
of the presbytery offices. 

This year brought about changes in our music program. Mrs. 
George Williams (Ruth McQuiston) retired in May 1971 after 
thirty-six years as the organist and choir director. She was recog- 
nized on May 30 during the worship service, given a plaque 
expressing appreciation for her years of faithful service, and 
honored with a set of diamond earrings. 

On June 20, 1971, Steven Lee Mowery, a native of Salisbury and a 
1971 graduate of Appalachian State University with a B. A. degree 
in Choral and Piano Music Education, was installed as the first full- 
time Music Director of the church. His presence in the church led to 
a strengthened musical program. The five existing vocal choirs 
benefited greatly from his direction. 

The annual Men's Convention of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 
held in Atlanta in 1971, was attended by Rev. and Mrs. Paul Felker. 
One of the key note speakers was Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, 
who was later to become the President of the United States. 

Over a period of months, the Women of the Church had become 
interested in making Chrismons to be used on a tree in the church. 
In February, Mrs. Harry Spencer, of Virginia, who originated the 
idea and drew the designs for the Chrismons, visited with the local 
women and gave them instructions on how to begin the project. 
Many women and a few men worked diligently over the months to 
fashion exquisite symbolic designs of gold and white to decorate a 
tree at Christmas. The tree was placed in Pioneer Hall and was first 
displayed at a special service on December 12, 1971, during which 
the Christian meaning of the designs was explained. 

The year 1972 was off to a good beginning. Rachel Micol, a 
member of the church and student at Presbyterian School of 
Christian Education, requested that she be allowed to come under 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 121 

the care of the session in anticipation of her graduation and serving 
as a Director of Christian Education. With joy and pride, the 
session approved her request. On June 11 of that year the church 
was the scene of Rachel's marriage to the Rev. Huw Christopher, a 
native of Wales, who had just graduated from Union Theological 
Seminary, Richmond, Virginia. Their first pastorate was in the 
Washington Presbyterian Church, Washington, North Carolina. 

Music had long been a strength of the church. Each week, there 
were over one hundred people involved in the choir programs. The 
musical program was to be further enhanced by a memorial gift of 
handbells. Steve Mowery, church Music Director, began a handbell 
training program. In May 1972, the vocal choirs and handbell choir 
gave a musical production entitled "My Faith Should be a Happy 
Thing." The handbells began to provide a wonderful new dimension 
to the music. 

A terrible tragedy struck our town in late May 1972 when an 
underground fallout shelter accidentally exploded, killing five 
children who had been playing there. Two of those were from the 
church: Jean Garrou, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Edward Garrou, 
and Michael Powell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hedrick Powell. This 
event saddened the whole community and led to the town estab- 
lishing a memorial park, "Children's Park," located on Highway 70 
East at Micol Creek. A community-wide memorial service to the 
five children was conducted on June 5, 1972. 

A great honor came to one of the fine Christian women of the 
church in June. Mrs. Laird Jacob, Sr. (Jeanne Verreault), an elder, 
was elected to serve as a commissioner to the 112th General 
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S. meeting at Montreat. 
She was the first woman from Concord Presbytery to be so honored. 

In August, the church received a beautiful gold trimmed white 
brocade funeral pall, given as a memorial gift. In the early years of 
the church, a black funeral pall had been used, but that was retired 
later and placed in the museum. For several decades, a funeral pall 
was not used. With the gift of a new pall, the practice was again 
readily accepted by the majority of the congregation. 

In October of 1972, Rev. and Mrs. Felker gave new linen 
communion cloths, which she had made by hand. They were bound 
in a gold and white brocade tape bearing the wheat and grapes 
motif, which had been purchased in Rome. The cloths were given by 
the Felkers in appreciation for the privilege of touring the Walden- 
sian Valleys. On the same date, the Boys Choir was dressed in new 

122 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

choir robes, donated by interested members. They were white cottas 
over wine cassocks, all of which were made by faithful women of the 

In the fall of 1972, there was a change of organists. John Bridges, 
who had served faithfully for several years, resigned to assume 
other duties. James Benton Brinkley, Sr., a very talented member of 
the church, was hired as the new organist. 

Under the direction of the Christian Education Committee, a 
new program of weekday Christian education called Youth Club 
was inaugurated the fall of 1972. The program, which provided an 
opportunity for recreation, choir, Bible study and dinner, met every 
Wednesday during the public school year. Children in grades one 
through twelve were involved, including a good number of non- 
Presbyterians. Youth Club has proved to be one of the outstanding 
programs of the church providing Christian witness and training. It 
was flourishing twenty years later with some of the same effective 
teachers and leaders. 

A decision was made to have a Wednesday night Bible Class 
taught by the minister. It was held at 5:45 P.M. each Wednesday to 
accommodate any adult who had just completed teaching in the 
Youth Club or who wished to attend the Chancel Choir at 7:00 P.M. 
It received a good response, but it soon became evident that the 
greatest number of participants were senior citizens. Little did the 
staff and Christian Education Committee know in 1972, that the 
class would be continuing twenty years later with some of the 
original participants having studied almost the entire Bible. 

A highlight of the Christmas season for many years has been the 
Christmas Cantata given by the church choir. In 1972, the cantata 
was a portrayal of the story "Raphael" with an original score by our 
music director, Steven Mowery. It involved five choirs, soloists, and 
was enjoyed by 350 people packed into the sanctuary. Thank 
goodness the fire marshall did not check the facilities at that time! 

The Waldensian people in Valdese have always been closely tied 
to their history. In 1947, the pastor, the Rev. Albert McClure, 
appointed a Historical Committee to collect and arrange for a place 
"to preserve anything relating to the early settling of Valdese." For a 
time, items were collected in a room over the sanctuary. Then in 
1955, they were displayed in a small room in Tron Hall. The 
museum collection grew, and by 1962, the session had approved a 
building fund for a museum. By 1965, $5,000 had been collected for 
the purpose. Tron Hall was renovated in 1968 as a temporary 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


Waldensian Museum — Completed in 1974 

setting for the collection. In 1971, the Historical Committee 
requested and received permission from the session to begin 
preliminary plans for a new museum building. It had been decided 
that rather than make the structure a part of the church complex, it 
might be more advantageous to locate it on the corner of Rodoret 
Street and St. Germain Avenue where the old manse stood. Plans 
were submitted to the congregation on February 11, 1973 and 
received unanimous approval. A financial campaign was launched 
with the announcement that Mrs. John P. Rostan, Sr. (Irma Ghigo), 
Mr. and Mrs. John P. Rostan, Jr. (Naomi Bounous) and the 
Waldensian Bakeries offered a challenge gift. The campaign was 
very successful and netted $104,310 in cash and pledges. Construc- 
tion began in July of 1973, and the building was used the first time 
for the February 17 celebration in 1974. 

In 1973, a memorial gift made possible the purchase of robes for 
the Chancel Choir and Les Jeunes Chanteuses. The robes chosen 
were royal blue with white stoles; they added much to the beauty of 
the worship services. 

The year 1974 began with two important speakers. First, the 
church was honored with a visit from Dr. and Mrs. Walter Hull, 
missionaries to Zaire. Everyone was happy to renew friendships 
with them and to learn about their medical work there. Dr. H. C. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Doris and Edward Garrou as he works on replica of the Walden- 
sian Emblem for Museum 

Olga Pasc€d in kitchen area of Museum 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 125 

Evans, president of Lees-McRae College, preached on January 27. 

The celebration of the Waldensian Emancipation was conducted 
in the basement of the new museum. The highlight of the program 
was a movie which had been produced in Valdese in the 1930's, 
showing workers leaving the schools and plants, and street scenes. 
Valdo Martinat, demonstrating his phenomenal gift for remember- 
ing names, gave narration of the scenes and identified the vast 
majority of the people. 

One of the church elders, John A. Bleynat, was honored by 
serving as moderator of Concord Presbytery at the spring meeting. 

In June 1974, the church began its summer schedule. Sunday 
School was omitted, and the worship hour began at 9:30 A.M. 
Grades one through three were taken to the Educational Building 
for a reading program. This practice of early worship during the 
summer was to continue for some years. Pentecost was observed 
with a special service and the reception of eight youth uniting with 
the fellowship of the church. On July 5, children and youth of our 
church were invited to a "Sanctified Seed Spit" (watermelon feast) 
on the church lawn. This activity was part of the recreational and 
musical programs of our church. As was the custom, a variety of 
recreational activities was planned for our children and youth 
throughout the summer. The second annual music conference was 
held at the Methodist Campground in July. The children and youth, 
under the direction of Steven Mowery, gave a production of the 
contemporary musical, "It's Cool in the Furnace," which made a big 
hit with the church audience. 

During the summer of 1974, the congregation was pleased to have 
the services of Ann Garrou, one of its young adults, a student at 
Davidson College, who served as the summer Director of Christian 

During the month of August 1974, two new staff persons were 
secured. Miss Kathy Newton, a South Carolina native and graduate 
of Presbyterian College, became the Director of Christian Educa- 
tion. Mrs. K. P. Floyd (Dianne Smith) became the first full-time 
secretary, replacing Mrs. Dan B. Bounous, Jr. (Hazel Coley), who 
had served as part-time secretary for a number of years. Both of 
these staff persons were to serve several years and become integral 
parts of the life of the church. 

On February 9, 1975, the church received a very special and 
unusual gift, a replica of the Liberty Bell, one-fifth the size of the 
original. It was prominently displayed and used for the call to 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

worship. It has a very distinct tone which Ungers in the air. The bell 
commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence in 1776 and was cast by the White Chapel Bell Foundry of 
London, which cast the original bell. It bears the inscription of the 
original, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the 
inhabitants thereof." After the service on February 9, the bell was 
placed on permanent display in the museum. James Edward 
Garrou, a craftsman in the congregation, fashioned a beautiful 
walnut pedestal for the bell. 

The annual observance of the Waldensian Emancipation Procla- 
mation was an outstanding event in 1975 with Pastor Aldo Sbaffi, 
moderator of the Waldensian Church of Italy, as speaker. He had 
earlier presided over the 800th centenary of the Waldensian move- 
ment in Italy. His address before this congregation was entitled 
"The Waldenses — Their Present and Future." His enchanting 
personality charmed not only the congregation, but also members 
of the East Burke High School with whom he also spoke on another 
occasion. At the conclusion of the morning worship, the congrega- 
tion moved in a processional, led by the dignitaries and choir, to the 
museum. There a brief dedication service was conducted by the 
moderator and our minister. Dr. Sbaffi visited the church again in 

Also at the February 17 celebration in 1975, Dr. George B. Watts, 
Professor Emeritus of Davidson College, was honored for his work 


m ■ ' '"fl 




H ^ 

■ B 









:-'.^-t£1x'^^ I 











Dr. George 

Byron Watts 

Honored at the 

1975 February 17 


Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 127 

in writing the history of the Waldensians. A plaque which was 
placed in the Waldensian Museum in his honor reads as follows: 

In Honor and Appreciation of 

our Friend 

George B. Watts 

Teacher, Historian, Author and Man of God 

for compiling and writing the history 

of the Waldenses recorded in two volumes. 

The Waldenses in the New World and 

The Waldenses of Valdese 

Presented by the 

Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

In April 1975, the North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Soci- 
ety recognized the achievements of the church in preserving the 
Waldensian heritage of the members. Several members of the 
church were present at the awards banquet held in Raleigh. 

On Good Friday, the church was blessed by a very impressive 
Tenebrae service with music written by the music director, Steve 
Mowery. "Tenebrae," meaning "deepening shadows," features mu- 
sic and scripture portraying in a dramatic fashion the closing events 
in the life of Christ. That year the Easter Sunrise Service was 
conducted by the Presbyterian church only and followed by break- 
fast. The dual Easter services were very impressive with trumpets 
accompanying the hymns and choir. 

In May 1975, under the auspices of the Valdese Ministerial 
Association, a series of ecumenical services were held. The town 
was honored to have as the speaker. Rev. Dr. John Anderson, pastor 
of the First Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas. The preaching 
mission had as its theme "The Gospel for Today's World." The 
series was well received by the churches of the area. 

In August, the drama From This Day Forward played to full 
houses, with many of the visitors touring the Waldensian museum 
prior to viewing the drama. The August Waldensian Festival 
continued to be a success with the church serving a wonderful 
Waldensian meal and providing a booth for baked goods and crafts. 
As was the yearly custom, a brief worship service conducted in the 
church told visitors the history of the "Glorious Return of the 
Waldenses in 1689." 

In October 1975, Rev. Felker began a course of study, one week 
each quarter for three years, which would lead to a Doctor of 

128 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

Ministry degree. The graduate study, offered by McCormick (Pres- 
byterian) Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois was being 
taught at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Laurinburg, North 
Carolina. As a part of that venture, the pastor would be conducting 
various projects and programs through the local church to develop 
skills and improve ministry. 

Upon the resignation of the organist James Benton Brinkley, Sr. 
in 1975, Mrs. Carol Stewart was employed. She held a degree in 
music from Appalachian State University. 

The Director of Christian Education, Kathy Newton, planned a 
special program in November, a "Christmas Craft Night." Members 
of the congregation displayed in Pioneer Hall their crafts and 
talents including paintings, needlepoint, carving, ceramics, wood 
crafts, and foods. This festive occasion put everyone in a holiday 

The heritage of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church was high- 
lighted by several events in 1976. On February 15, the formal 
dedication of the Waldensian Museum was held at the conclusion of 
the morning worship service. This ceremony celebrated the debt- 
free status of the $110,000 building and its furnishings. The 
building had been in use since its completion in 1974. The congrega- 
tion rejoiced at the completion of the museum, which will witness 
for generations to come to the faith and perseverance of the 
Waldensian colony in Valdese. 

On August 15, 1976, a bronze plaque was placed over the 
cornerstone of the church, noting the laying of the cornerstone on 
February 15, 1897 and the dedication of the church on July 4, 1899, 
Made possible by an anonymous donor, this plaque is significant to 
the history of the church. After the enlargement of the sanctuary in 
1991, the marker was relocated from the south side of the building 
to the west side. 

Another event related to Waldensian heritage was held the 
weekend of September 25 and 26, 1976. On Saturday, the Women of 
the Church honored the members of the French Circle at the home 
of Mr. and Mrs. Albert F. Garrou (Hilda Whitener Yoder). A 
photograph of the gathering is in the museum. On Sunday, Septem- 
ber 26, at the morning worship service, the women of the French 
Circle were recognized for their faithfulness, devotion, and service 
to Christ, this church, and His people. In honor of the French 
Circle, the Women of the Church presented a large print pulpit 
Bible in the Revised Standard Version. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


1st Row L-R: Marie Parise (Humbert) Leger, Lisette Rivoire 
Masi, Marie Ferrier (James Henry) Pascal, Annie Garrou (Ben) 
Grill, Harriet Vinay (John) Long, Irma Ghigo (J.P.) Rostan, Elda 
Rostan (John) Tessore. 2nd Row L-R: Lydia Jacumin (Rev. John) 
Pons, Emily Parise (Salvatore) Dentale, Jeanne Pons (Francis) 
Perrou, Prosperine Heritier (Gilbert) Ribet, Marianne Pons 
(Clement) Pons, Louise Gaydou (John D.) Guigou, Frances 
UUman (Victor) Micol. 3rd Row L-R: Zeline Pons, Louise Achino 
(Ernesto) Achino, Pauline Grill (Charles) Guerico, Irene Pascal 
Sturman, Helen Pascal (Aldo) Martinat, Rachel Perrou 
(Marshall) Warren, Adele Bouchard (Albert) Tron. 

Miss Ann Garrou, a rising senior at Davidson College and 
daughter of Edward and Doris (Campbell) Garrou, served as a 
Youth Delegate to the 116th meeting of the General Assembly of the 
Presbyterian Church, U. S. The meeting was held at Stillman 
College, Tuscaloosa, Alabama on June 11-19, 1976. Ann reported to 
the congregation on her role at the assembly during the morning 
worship on July 18. 

The August 15 anniversary of the Glorious Return of 1689 was 
observed with two worship services in 1977. A number of out-of- 
town guests attended, including a contingent from the Waldensian 
Church of New York City. Rev. Alfred Janavel, pastor of that 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

church, assisted in the worship services. A special time of fellowship 
was enjoyed with dinner under the trees on the south lawn of the 
church. The Felix Canal family and others from New Jersey 
entertained the gathering by singing several French and Italian 
hymns and songs. 

A long-range planning committee had been appointed to study 
the needs of the church buildings. On October 2, 1977, the commit- 
tee presented to the congregation proposals for the renovation and 
improvements of church facilities. The estimated cost would be 
$274,573. The congregation approved the project. 

The Sunday before Christmas, a musical reading, "The Coming 
of the King," was presented by the pastor with Steve Mowery at the 
organ. A highlight of the Christmas season of 1977 was the revival 
of a tradition observed in the early years of the church. Each child 
was given a bag with fruit, nuts, raisins and candy. The youth 
requested that bags also be presented to those of the congregation 

1st Row L-R: Sherry Pons, Carmen Watts, Bea Picou, Amy Hern, 
Alan Bonner. 2nd Row L-R: Eric Felker, Lori Church, Ben 
Hanks, Kim Wilkinson, Vickie Neale, Wesley Garrou. 3rd Row 
L-R: Willie Garrou, Donna Garrou, Bo Garrou, Michelle Bleynat, 
Carol Ann Guigou, Caroline Perrou, Mitchell Guigou. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 131 

aged seventy or older. Christmas worship was held on Sunday, 
December 25, with everyone enjoying the singing of traditional 

In February 1978, neighborhood meetings were held to acquaint 
the congregation with the proposed renovation needs of the church. 
Members of the Renovation Finance Committee and the Building 
Committee were present at the meetings to answer questions. 
These meetings led to pledges for the construction program. 

On May 21, 1978, the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Techni- 
color Dreamcoat" was presented by the children and youth choirs. 

The Rev. Paul H. Felker received the Doctor of Ministry degree 
from McCormick Theological Seminary on June 27, 1978. The 
graduation ceremony was held at St. Andrews Presbj^terian College 
at Laurinburg, North Carolina. A number of family and congrega- 
tional members were present for the occasion. 

Mr. and Mrs. David Dickey, students at Princeton Theological 
Seminary, assisted in the worship service on August 6, 1978. The 
congregation rejoiced that Ann Garrou Dickey had been called to 
the ministry. At the time, Ann was being processed for candidacy 
under the care of Concord Presbytery. 

Miss Kathy Newton completed her work as Director of Christian 
Education on August 13, 1978. She had served the church since 
August 1974. She continued to live in Valdese while she was engaged 
in graduate study at Appalachian State University. At that time, 
Steven Mowery, Music Director, also assumed the duties of direct- 
ing the Christian Education program. 

The renovation work began in Pioneer Hall in early August 1978. 
It was to include a new heating/cooling system of heat pumps for all 
the buildings. While expensive to install, it proved to be cost 
effective since the buildings were zoned and placed on time clocks. 
Thus, areas would be heated or cooled only when they were in use. 
The program included painting and carpeting various areas and 
refurbishing the sanctuary. The congregation was shocked that the 
committee would place royal blue carpeting in the sanctuary, but 
soon discovered that the color enhanced the stained glass windows 
and wondered why it had not been done earlier. 

For the first two months of 1979, Sunday morning worship 
services were held in Pioneer Hall while the sanctuary was being 
renovated. In January, it became necessary for the Building Com- 
mittee to recommend to the session and diaconate that funds for the 
renovation be increased from the estimated $295,573 to $350,000. 

132 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

The request was approved. 

Ann Garrou Dickey was received as a candidate for the gospel 
ministry at the meeting of the Presbytery of Concord in Winston 
Salem, North Carolina, on January 26, 1979. She became the first 
female candidate for the gospel ministry from this congregation. 

Dr. Francis Ghigo, professor of Romance Languages at Davidson 
College, was the guest speaker for the February 17 Celebration in 
1979. Dr. Ghigo was the son of Pastor Filippo Ghigo, who served the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church in the early 1900's. At the dinner, 
Dr. Ghigo talked about his boyhood memories of growing up in 
Valdese, about the older Waldensians, and especially about the 
"patois," which was the common language in the early days of the 
colony. In late 1979, Dr. Ghigo's book. The Provengal Speech of the 
Waldensian Colonists of Valdese, N.C., was published and made 
available for purchase. The book was a revision of his master^s 
thesis completed in 1937 at the University of North Carolina, 
Chapel Hill. Upon his retirement, he decided to publish his work, 
which will be invaluable to the preservation of the "patois" spoken 
by the original Waldensian settlers. 

The Worship Committee of the session recommended that 
cushions be purchased for the sanctuary pews and that the choir 
seats be re-upholstered. The recommendation was approved. The 
Worship Committee was designated to seek funds of approximately 
$2,000 to cover the cost of the project. The cushions would be blue 
velvet to match the color of the carpet. 

Upon the completion of the church renovation project, a re- 
dedication service was held on April 1, 1979. It was a service of 
thanks and praise to God for His mercy in enabling the congrega- 
tion to refurbish the sanctuary and to renovate the educational 
buildings. Rev. Felker preached on the theme "Remembrances" and 
led the congregation in a litany of rededication. 

April 12, 1979 was the wedding day of Miss Kathy Newton, 
former Director of Christian Education, and Steven L. Mowery, 
Music Director of the church. Young men of the church served as 
groomsmen and young women of the church as honorary brides- 
maids. The wedding festivities were a happy time for the whole 

Special services were held May 6-9 with Dr. Moffett Swain of 
Lenoir as guest minister. The theme of her sermon series was 
"Women in the Church." Each year a series of special services is 
conducted in the church in the late spring or early fall. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 133 

On May 12, 1979, new Presbyterian hymnals. The Hymnbook, 
were presented to the church as a memorial gift. 

Dr. Paul Felker served as a commissioner from the Presbytery of 
Concord to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. 
in Kansas City, Missouri, May 18-June 1, 1979. 

The Church Personnel Committee recommended to the session 
on June 24, 1979 that the number of elders and deacons elected each 
year be increased from five to six, beginning with the class of 1982. 
This recommendation was approved by the session and the congre- 

In honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination as a 
minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S., Dr. Paul H. Felker was 
presented a silver Revere bowl on July 15, 1979 at the morning 
worship service. The presentation was made by Dr. Benjamin W. 
Garrou. At the service, a letter from Dr. Clements E. Lamberth, Jr., 
General Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Concord, 
was read, commending Dr. Felkefs work. 

On October 28, 1979, Steven Mowery submitted his resignation 
as Director of Music and Christian Education to be effective July 
15, 1980. Mr. Mowery was to begin a four-year course of study for a 
Doctor of Ministry degree at Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, 
in the fall of 1980. 

As one of his many labors of love for the church, James Edward 
Garrou designed and built portable tables for use by the handbell 

In November 1979, the prospects of the church's sponsoring a 
refugee boat family from Vietnam were first discussed. Several 
years would be spent seeing the project to its fulfillment. The 
sponsorship of the Tran family would become one of the most 
heartwarming, rewarding acts of Christian love experienced by the 
congregation in the history of the Waldensian Presbyterian 

In January 1980, a resolution was presented to Commander 
Edward L. Bleynat expressing the congregation's gratitude for his 
outstanding work for two years as coordinator of the renovation of 
the church buildings. Also, as an acknowledgment of his efforts, a 
gift of $1,000 was given by the church to Lees-McRae College, his 
alma mater. 

At the morning worship service on January 13, 1980, two 
generous memorial gifts were presented to the church — pew Bibles 
and a new silver communion service. The communion service 

134 History of the Waldensian Presb3rterian Church 

contained ten stackable trays each for bread and wine. 

On March 30, 1980, the session met to examine Steven Mowery 
as a candidate for the gospel ministry. He would later be taken 
under the care of the Presbytery of Concord. 

Moderator Giorgio Bouchard, of the Waldensian Church of Italy, 
and Dr. Charles Arbuthnot, Director of the American Waldensian 
Aid Society, visited in April as part of a three-week tour of 
Presbyterian Churches in the United States. 

Ann Garrou Dickey received the Master of Divinity degree from 
Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, May 30, 1980. She and 
her husband David, a graduate of Princeton and Union Theological 
Seminaries, accepted a position as co-pastors of the Grove Presby- 
terian Church, Keenanville, North Carolina, and the Smith Presby- 
terian Church, Pink Hill, North Carolina. A large contingent of 
family and friends journeyed to Ann's ordination and installation 
service and David's installation. Dr. Felker was honored to preach 
the ordination and installation service of this outstanding young 
woman. As a token of love from the session of the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church, Ann was presented a gold necklace and 
pendant bearing the emblem of the Waldensian Church. The 
pendant had been purchased in Italy. 

On June 8, 1980, Steven Mowery was honored for his outstanding 
service to the church for nine years. He was presented a plaque and 
a gift of health insurance for his four years of study in seminary. 
After the morning worship service, a farewell dinner was held on the 
grounds for Mr. and Mrs. Mowery. Others honored that day were 
the parents of the couple and recent new members of the church. 

On June 13, 1980, John Mode assumed part-time responsibilities 
as choir director. John was serving as a public school band teacher. 
This was to be the beginning of a long and happy relationship with 
the choirs and church. 

A new Waldensian history. The Waldensians: The First 800 Years, 
by Giorgio Tourn, was received and made available for sale. It was 
recognized as the first comprehensive history of the Waldensian 
faith to be published in recent decades. 

A group of ninety-six from the church and community traveled to 
Torre Pellice, Italy, in the Waldensian Valleys, from June 28 to July 
3, 1980. A crowd of over one hundred Waldensians greeted them, 
and the Waldensian Church choir sang French hymns. The group 
was officially welcomed by the mayor of Torre Pellice; mayor pro 
tern Edward Pascal in turn presented the mayor the "Resolution of 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 135 

Friendship" the Town of Valdese sent to the people of Torre PeUice. 
On June 30, a special thanksgiving service was conducted by Vice 
Moderator Taccia of the Waldensian Church. Ernest Jahier gave an 
address in patois, and Hilda Jones presented a plaque which 
depicted the Waldensian Presbyterian Church of Valdese. The 
group toured many of the villages and churches in the Valleys, 
discovered family homeplaces, and met cousins they had never 
seen. Participants in this trip presented a monetary gift to the area 
churches as a token of their appreciation for the warm hospitality 
extended to them. The money was applied to the translation of 
Giorgio Tourn's book into Castigliano for the benefit of Walden- 
sians in Uruguay and Argentina. 

September 1980 can be remembered as a month of generous 
giving. Dr. Walter Hull, missionary to Zaire, requested $3,000 to 
ship to Zaire an X-ray unit which had been donated by the Valdese 
General Hospital. The session approved his request, and the 
congregation responded by providing the funds. On another occa- 
sion, a breakfast was held to assist with the medical expenses of a 
member of the church who had a terminal illness. Also, a memorial 
gift of property at Beech Mountain was given to be sold and used for 
a brick patio at the sanctuary entrance. Another monetary gift of 
$3,000 inaugurated a pipe organ fund. 

On November 2, 1980, a memorial plaque to Miss Sylvia Brown 
was placed in the hallway of the preschool department. Miss Brown 
had served as a Sunday School teacher most of her life and was in 
the preschool department for twenty years. Her small estate was 
left to be used for the preschool department. Various toys and 
equipment were placed there from her bequest. The memorial 
plaque should be a reminder of Sylvia Brown's life of faithful service 
to the church. 

In November 1980, the Pulpit Search Committee recommended 
that a call be issued to the Reverend John C. Parse as Associate 
Pastor with special responsibilities in Christian Education. At the 
time, Rev. Parse was serving the Canton Presbyterian Church, 
Canton, North Carolina. He moved to Valdese in January 1981 with 
his wife Kathy and children Andy, Christie, and Julianne. The Rev. 
Parse was installed as Associate Pastor on February 8, 1981 by a 
commission from the Presbytery of Concord. A reception in Pi- 
oneer Hall that afternoon welcomed the Parse family to the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church. The family quickly became 
active in the life of the church. 

136 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Miss Noelle Garrou, daughter of Victor and Ann Garrou, was 
elected as one of five members of the Concord Presbytery Youth 
Council. On May 24th, a musical program, "Down by the Creek 
Bank," was presented by all of the children's choirs. 

Organist Mrs. Steve Stewart (Carol) resigned her position on 
October 11, 1981 after six years of service on the church staff. On 
November 8, Mrs. Fern Abernathy was hired as interim organist 
and on December 13 became the permanent church organist. 

In November 1981, a brass candelabrum was placed in the church 
parlor as a memorial gift. The next year. Circle 1 of the Women of 
the Church purchased a water color by Miss Olga Pascal which 
depicts the arrival of the first twenty-nine Waldensians in Burke 
County. It, too, was a memorial gift and was hung in the parlor. 

The "Museum 2000 Fund" was established by the Historical 
Committee in November 1981. The money in this fund cannot be 
used until after the year 2000. The purpose of the fund is to assure 
that the future needs of maintaining the museum will be met. 
Lawyer W. Harold Mitchell serves as administrator of the fund. 

A mission request by Dr. Walter Hull was in the forefront at the 
beginning of 1982. A campaign was started to raise funds to help 
purchase a Land Rover for transportation on the rough roads on the 
mission field in Zaire. Then in May, 190 medical books were 
shipped to Dr. Hull at Good Shepherd Hospital in Zaire. The staff of 
Valdese General Hospital paid the shipping costs. 

The benevolence of the church was further experienced that year 
when a gift of $1,000 was given from benevolent receipts to the 
capital funds campaign of Queens College. Personal pledges of 
$19,000 were made also to a "Time to Grow," Church Development 
Campaign of the Presbytery of Concord. 

In February 1982, a gift of eight large print hymn books, for use by 
those with visual difficulties, was given as a memorial gift. Later in 
the year, an evergreen tree was given as a memorial and planted on 
the main street lawn of the church. 

Mrs. John D. Guigou (Louise Gaydou) was recognized on Febru- 
ary 28, 1982 for her faithful service of sixty years as a member of the 
church choirs. 

The congregation was saddened by the belated news of the death 
of Dr. George B. Watts on May 7, 1981. Dr. Watts, a former 
professor of French at Davidson College, had spent much time 
doing research in Valdese and had made many friends. His initial 
interest in the Waldensian people in Valdese grew to include all 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 137 

Waldensians who had immigrated to North and South America. 
That research resulted in the pubhcation of his book, The Wal- 
denses in the New World, in 1941 and his 1965 book, The Waldenses 
of Valdese. Dr. Watts brought together a wealth of information 
gathered from several sources and many persons in Valdese to give 
the town and church its first published history. The Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church owes a great debt of gratitude to Dr. George B. 
Watts for his work. 

An announcement was made on May 30, 1982 that the book A 
History of the Waldenses by the Rev. John Pons had been reprinted 
and was on sale in the museum. The books were donated to the 
museum by the family of the Rev. Pons. 

On June 27, 1982, the long-awaited Vietnamese refugee family 
arrived in Valdese under the sponsorship of the Waldensian Presby- 
terian Church. The Tran family included two young adults and two 
teenagers — a sister, Thu, and her three brothers Chung, Long, and 
Thanh. The girl and the youngest boy spoke some English which 
assisted greatly in their becoming acclimated to new surroundings. 
Their politeness and gratitude won the hearts of everyone. Mrs. 
Evelyn Stiff, Chairperson; the Glenn Yoders, Commander Edward 
Bleynat, the John Heilman family, the Hugh Fletcher family, and 
many others in the congregation helped the family adjust to 
American ways. The family proved to be very diligent in study and 
faithful in work, which created pride among those who helped them 
so much and the congregation at large. The three young men have 
earned Bacheloi^s degrees, and Thu earned an Associate's degree 
from a community college. Each has earned a responsible position 
in life. The three older siblings have become American citizens. 

Special services on September 26-28, 1982 were led by Rev. Ann 
Garrou Dickey and Rev. David Dickey, pastors of the Grove and 
Smith Presbyterian Churches in Keenanville and Pink Hill, North 
Carolina. The congregation rejoiced to have this clergy couple to 
conduct the series of sermons. 

The congregation rejoiced that a former member,Joseph A, 
Verreault, son of Mr. and Mrs. Armand Verreault, and grandson of 
the former pastor. Rev. J. A. Verreault (1925 - 1931), was ordained 
as a minister in Blue Ridge Presbytery in Halifax Virginia in 
September 1982. He had completed his theological training at 
Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia some years 
before seeking ordination. 

The year 1983 saw the production of the first pictorial directory 

138 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

of this church. Much work went into the pubUcation of the directory 
which proved to be an asset to everyone. 

In a desire to enhance the worshipful attitude produced in the 
sanctuary, members of the congregation donated paraments in 
seasonal colors and with appropriate embroidered symbols for use 
in the sanctuary. Later on, the ministers were to get matching sets 
of stoles for seasonal wear. 

On February 13, 1983, Mrs. Lydia Pons, widow of the Rev. John 
Pons, celebrated her 90th birthday. The family gave an open house 
in her honor. 

On May 29, we noted the 90th anniversary of the arrival of the 
Waldenses in Burke County. Alexis Guigou, the sole survivor of the 
original settlers, was 95 years old at the time. 

In June 1983, a momentous event occurred in Presbyterian 
history. The United Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and the Presby- 
terian Church U.S. became one denomination — the Presbyterian 
Church (U.S.A.) at a historic meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. This 
union was a result of much prayer, work, and negotiations over a 
long period of years. Thus, the local church is now a part of the new 

Several events of importance occurred in June 1983. A new 
Kawai upright piano was purchased for use in the choir room. It was 
given in memory of two church members. Also that month, new 
election procedures were approved conforming to the new denomi- 
national requirements and congregational preference. The regula- 
tion specifies, "A diversified nominating committee will select 
nominees for elder and deacon. Officers elected serve for a period of 
three years and must be out of office for two years before returning 
to office. The slate of nominees must be twice the number of 

Since 1982, the congregation had expressed great concern for the 
elderly of our community, that they might have adequate retire- 
ment housing. Initiated by the Service Committee of the church and 
approved by the session, a board of directors was established to seek 
a site and government funding for apartments for the elderly. In 
September 1983 , governmental approval was granted for a loan of 
$813,000 for constructing thirty apartment units. The site chosen 
was on Church Street N.W., and the name chosen was "AGAPE 
Retirement Housing." The original intent was that many of our 
own people might use the facilities, but because of governmental 
regulations only persons with limited income could utilize the 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 139 

apartments. This venture was to become one of the greatest projects 
of the church and would meet the need of people who would 
otherwise not have adequate housing in a caring community. The 
project required $10,000 seed money, which was loaned from church 
funds and repaid after the project was complete and operating. 

In November 1983, ten youths and two adults journeyed to 
Washington, D.C. for a three-day experience of working with the 
homeless, a project of the Church of the Pilgrims. Rev. Jack Parse 
headed the project, which was a tremendous experience for the 
youth as well as a culture shock. 

December was a busy month for the church. A workshop for 
officers and officers-elect was held on December 4 with the Rev. 
Clements Lamberth, Executive Presbyter of Concord Presbytery, 
acquainting the officers with the structure and expectations of the 
new denomination. In addition, the officers received their commit- 
tee and visitation assignments for the coming year. At a congrega- 
tional meeting on December 11, the proposed budget for the coming 
year was approved. In accordance with the new Book of Order, the 
congregation also voted to approve the incorporation of the church, 
as required by the Book of Order. 

A big step was taken in 1984 when the diaconate was given 
permission to purchase a fifteen passenger van for church use. This 
had been a long-time dream of the youth and other organizations. 
The blue Dodge van became a wonderful asset to the programming 
for youth and eliminated much of the use of individual cars. 

Many people of the congregation had longed for a pipe organ to 
replace the electric organ. Interested individuals requested permis- 
sion of the session to conduct a "quiet campaign" to raise funds for a 
pipe organ. Under the direction of William D. Schubert, the 
chairman, funds were solicited and in a three-week period, $90,000 
was raised or pledged. A special Selection Committee was chosen, 
chaired by John Mode, Music Director. A number of churches were 
visited to assess the qualities of various instruments. Finally, a 
decision was made to order from the Lewis and Hitchcock Organ 
Company of Virginia. It would be eighteen months before the 
instrument would be completed and installed. 

At the request of the Burke County Historical Association, the 
process was started to get the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 
placed on the Historical Register. With the help of the association, 
the application was completed and the designation as a historic site 
was made in October 1984. 

140 History of the Waldensisin Presbyterian Church 

The Service Committee of the church held its semiannual spring 
and fall clothing drives in 1984, with a ton of clothing collected. 
Items were sorted by Mrs. Melany (Bounous) Grill and others and 
distributed to various institutions including Broughton Hospital, 
Grandfather Home for Children and Burke United Christian 
Ministries. This has been one of the outstanding service projects of 
the church. 

In recent years. Mother's Day had been chosen for the Women of 
the Church to present Honorary Life Membership Awards to 
deserving women of the congregation. In 1984, Presbyterian Wom- 
en not only named three women to receive the honor, but recognized 
all twenty-one other living recipients of the award at the morning 
worship on May 13. Each year since then, at least one woman has 
been honored with such an award. (A complete list of Honorary Life 
Membership recipients can be found in Part II, Chapter 14). 

A group of visitors from the Waldensian Valleys came to visit 
August 2-13, 1984, under the direction of Pastor Giuseppe Platone 
of Angrogne, Italy. The congregation entertained these guests with 
special meals at the church and in private homes and took them to 
visit the mountains of North Carolina, Reynolda House and Old 
Salem in Winston-Salem, and the Biltmore House in Asheville. 
Many warm friendships were established through these events. 

The summer highlight for seven of the Boy Scouts from Troop 
192 was their journey to Camp Philmont Scout Ranch near 
Cimmaron, New Mexico for a three-week camping trip. Chap- 
eroned by Scoutmaster Steven Morrow, the boys were Jerry Burgin, 
Jr., Henry Garrou, Victor Garrou, Jr., Andy Parse, Greg Henderson, 
Jimmy Tipton, and Shawn Whisenant. Upon their return, several 
of the boys related their adventures to the church and several civic 
organizations. It was truly a lifetime experience for those young 
men involved. Boy Scout Troop 192 is sponsored by the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church. 

August featured the annual observance of the Waldensian Festi- 
val with the church providing the brief worship service, tours of the 
museum, the craft booth and Waldensian meal for the public. The 
festival has become quite a cosmopolitan affair with visitors from 
afar. In attendance at the worship service on August 12, 1984 were 
seventy-eight visitors from five other states, including Massa- 
chusetts and California, and other countries, including Italy, 
France, and former residents of Romania and Viet Nam. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


Strengthening The Church Committee Presentation 

September, 1984 

Over the years, the museum had received an increasing number of 
artifacts which could not be displayed properly in the main floor 
area. September 1984 marked the opening of the lower floor of the 
museum with new displays, depicting the agricultural work, indus- 
tries, and municipal areas of the community. Two displays of 
particular interest proved to be the wine-making equipment and the 
armed forces uniforms worn by members of this church. 

The year 1985 saw some dramatic events and some "life changing 
practices." In establishing the membership of the various commit- 
tees for that year, it was discovered that we did not have a male 
deacon who worked in town and could be on call as chairman of the 
Cemetery Committee. Mrs. Mary Louise Hatley, deacon, was asked 
to be the first woman to chair that committee. She readily agreed to 
accept the responsibility and wound up chairing the all-male 
committee with great ability. The committee, which not only 
oversees the maintenance of the cemetery, the selling of lots, and 
the placement of graves, also directs funeral traffic at the church 
and cemetery. When Mary Louise asked the pastor if she was to 
direct the traffic, he facetiously said, "Of course, that is part of 
YOUR job." Being the feminist she is, each time there was a 
funeral, there was Mary Louise directing traffic. She was to serve a 

142 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

three -year term as chairman of that committee and another term 
later. How can one not respect such a lady? 

The year started off with a good Christian gesture on the part of 
the congregation with the reception of a special offering of $3,244 
for famine relief in Ethiopia. 

The annual observance of the Waldensian Emancipation Procla- 
mation was held February 16, 1985 in Pioneer Hall with a covered 
dish meal. Fred Cranford, Assistant Superintendent of Burke 
County Schools, was the guest speaker. His subject for the occasion 
was "The Waldenses — Their Incredible Beginnings." During the 
program, the Historical Committee presented him with a plaque 
commending him for his authorship of the outdoor drama From 
This Day Forward, which has been produced every year since 1968. 

At the morning worship the next day, a special offering was 
received for an improvement of the Waldensian Hospital in Torre 
Pellice, Italy. A $6,000 check to that cause was presented to the Rev, 
Frank Gibson, Executive Director of the American Waldensian 
Society, when he preached in the church on April 28. 1985. 

Two church members, in honor of their fiftieth wedding anniver- 
sary, presented a monetary gift with which new Cherub Choir robes 
were purchased. The robes were "Carolina blue" with white collars. 

On April 1-5, 1985, the church was scheduled to host the 
traditional community-wide Holy Week noonday services. They 
were discontinued after the service on Maundy Thursday because 
of a great disaster in our geographic area. An elderly gentleman 
living off Highway 18 south of Morganton allowed a brush fire to 
escape his control. The result was that hundreds of acres of 
timberland were burned as fire swept northward over High Peak 
and Mineral Springs Mountains, jumping Interstate Highway 40 
and threatening the entire town of Valdese. The drought of the 
season made the woods like a tinderbox, and winds of 45 miles per 
hour spread the flames rapidly. It was only by the grace of God that 
the fires were brought under control at the site of the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church Cemetery, which served as a buffer to further 
spread of the fire. It was not until several days later that the fire was 
brought under complete control. In the immediate area of Valdese, 
Mineral Springs, High Peak Mountain, and Shady Grove commu- 
nity, thirty-five homes were destroyed. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Micol 
of this congregation lost their home. 

The Red Cross and Salvation Army immediately moved into the 
area to assist the victims of the tragedy. The Service Committee of 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


the church had just begun its spring clothing drive. The following 
Monday, it began to make clothing available for the fire victims. As 
announcements were made over the radio about the availability of 
clothing, others brought additional clothing for distribution. Soon 
the first floor of the Educational Building was like a clothing 
warehouse without space for the volunteer workers to move about. 
Rev. Felker arranged for the free use of a vacant store where the 
clothing was then relocated and made available for distribution. 
Men and women of the church, under the direction of Mrs. Melany 
Grill, clothing chairperson, volunteered countless hours to arrang- 
ing, sizing, and distributing clothing to the hundreds of people 
throughout the county who came for aid. After all their needs were 
met, there was a sale of clothing at very low cost to other needy 
families. Proceeds from that venture brought $700 for the victims of 
the disaster. Still there remained two truck loads of clothing which 
were finally sent to West Virginia to the needy people of the 
Appalachian area. This was truly an example of people practicing 
the gospel admonition ". . . inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of 
the least of these." 

Easter Week 

Clothing Re- 
lief for Vic- 
tims of Forest 
Fire — Ser- 
vice Commit- 
tee Volunteers 
— Melany 
Grill and Jane 

During the same time, the minister was receiving monetary gifts, 
not only from the congregation but also from compassionate 


History of the Waldensian Presbjdierian Church 

Dedication of AGAPE Retirement Housing — December 15, 
1985 — L-R: Committee members: John A. Bleynat, Evelyn 
Stiff, Rev. Paul H. Felker, Hal Harrison, Barbara Baker Freiman 
(consultant), Hugh Fletcher, Betty Bumgarner Garrou, Julius 
("J") A. Grisette, Hilda Ogle Jones, Jerry Wilkinson, Louis E. 
Vinay, Jr., James C. Farris 

Section of Agape Apartment Complex 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 145 

Christians throughout the state of North Carohna. He organized 
the "Valdese Christian Aid Society" composed of the ministers of 
the eight community churches and a lay representative from each. 
That organization assisted needy famihes in finding lodging and 
receiving aid through the Red Cross. It also distributed over $34,000 
to assist those families. This venture proved to be one of the 
greatest ecumenical experiences of the Valdese community. 

At the April 1985 meeting of Concord Presbytery, Tracey Burns, 
one of our high school students, was elected to the Presbytery Youth 
Council. This was a position of responsibility which called for 
planning presbytery youth activities. She took her duties seriously, 
contributing her gifts to the task and earning recognition and honor 
for herself. 

May 1985 was an eventful time due to the ground breaking of the 
AGAPE housing complex of thirty apartments. A thunderstorm 
made the Church Street site a quagmire for those present. James 
Farris was serving as chairman of the Board of Directors. There was 
great rejoicing as the facility was dedicated for use on December 15, 

A series of Special Services was held beginning September 29, 
1985. This was a spiritual highlight for all as we welcomed in turn, 
four clergy sons and daughters of this church: Rev. Dr. Gregory 
Grana, the Rev. Ann Garrou Dickey, the Rev. Joseph Verreault, and 
the Rev. Dr. Steven Mowery. Another highlight was special music 
provided by former member Mrs. Rita Pons Reich. 

In 1984, the session had approved the installation of heavy duty 
playground equipment costing up to $2,000. It was placed, in 
September 1985, on the south-east quadrant of the property and 
included a concrete area equal to half a basketball court, which 
served double duty for shuffle board. The play areas were to become 
wonderful assets not only to the church, but to the community, with 
many non-members using the facilities during times they were not 
scheduled for church use. 

The musical highlight of the year came with the Chancel Choir 
presentation of Handel's Messiah on December 22, 1985. The choir 
with orchestral accompaniment provided a memorable occasion for 
all who were present. 

The annual observance of the Emancipation of the Waldenses 
held on February 15, 1986 was simpler than some years. A musical 
program was presented by Les Jeunes Chanteurs and the Youth 
Handbell Choir. The highlight of the evening was when two 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Dr. Felker and Linda Rostan — First Kids on the Slide 

members of the Historical Committee were given special recogni- 
tion for their faithful and devoted service to the museum through 
the years. Reece Scull made fun of the "bossiness" of the two in 
working with others in the museum to achieve their standards of 
excellence. Mrs. Naomi Bounous Rostan and Miss Olga Pascal 
received plaques of honor and a standing ovation. They were 
primarily responsible for the creation and design of the numerous 
displays in the Waldensian Museum. 

Throughout the years, the museum had been acquiring funds 
through gifts and memorials. Those funds were used to purchase 
equipment and printed materials and to prepare photographs and 
displays. The funds had reached a point to make the committee self- 
sufficient. Therefore, the session and diaconate requested that the 
Historical Committee begin to assume responsibility for the cost of 
insurance for the facility under these terms: one third in 1986, two 
thirds in 1987, and total cost in succeeding years. The Historical 
Committee agreed to assume that responsibility. 

The traditional Easter offering of "One Great Hour of Sharing" 
was received in 1986. Also, the custom of placing memorial Easter 
lilies in the sanctuary was observed. A different service this year 
brought the Methodists and Presbyterians together for a Maundy 
Thursday Passover Seder and Eucharistic Meal. The service, 
conducted by Rev. James Reeves of the First United Methodist 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


LES JEUNES CHANTEURS — February 17, 1986 Celebration — 1st Row L-R: 
Tamara Suttle, Christy Traylor, Christy Neale, Kim Yoder, Christy Parse, Angie 
Williams, Cesarine Hudson, Catherine Ward, Katie Hanks, Gretchen Weise, 
Michelle Rostan. 2nd Row L-R: Henry Garrou, Jerry Burgin, Michael Bonner, 
Michael Brown, Nelson Neale, Benton Brinkley, Charles Hildebran, Andy Parse. 

L-R: Bridget Blackwell, Jill Mitchell, Katie Farias, John Hunter Mode, Shana 
Nesbit, Katie Gravel, Wesley Cannon, Catherine Lafferty, Kelly Masterson. 

148 History of the Waldensian Presbj^rian Church 

Church and Rev. Parse and Dr. Felker of this church, explained the 
reUgious significance of the two meals and their covenant relation- 

The congregation had hoped that we would have the new pipe 
organ installed for use by Easter of 1986, but the shipment of pipes 
from Holland delayed the construction and installation. At the time 
for the installation in July, the old electric organ was moved from 
the sanctuary and permanently installed in Pioneer Hall. The 
congregation worshipped there for two weeks while the organ 
company installed the pipe organ. The first occasion for its use was 
Saturday, August 9, 1986 at the brief worship service conducted for 
the Waldensian Festival. August 10 was the first regular worship 
service utilizing the instrument. 

A special Dedication Service was conducted on September 21, 
1986 with Dr. Max Smith, organ professor of Appalachian State 
University, at the console. He was a wise choice because of his 
expertise and his great assistance as a consultant in this endeavor. 
The occasion of the dedication was enhanced by "Carolina Brass," a 
group of five instrumentalists from Charlotte, and by special 
anthems by the choir. Everyone was pleased with the organ. 

The Music Department of the church felt that it was important to 
acquaint our congregation and the community with the beauty and 
capability of the new pipe organ. Therefore, a series of Sunday 
afternoon organ concerts was scheduled with guest artists. They 
were David B. Richardson, organ instructor at Winthrop College, 
Rock Hill, South Carolina, on October 26, 1986; Mrs. Libby 
Alexander, noted organist from Shelby, North Carolina, on Novem- 
ber 16, 1986; and on January 18, 1987, Ray Ebert, of Winston- 
Salem, North Carolina, organist at Centenary Methodist Church 
and teacher at North Carolina School of the Arts and Salem 

Two important actions were taken in the fall of 1986. First, the 
Long Range Committee, under the leadership of John A. Bleynat, 
suggested that the church begin having two worship services each 
Sunday morning. This was to alleviate overcrowding of the sanctu- 
ary and would permit growth. That recommendation was approved, 
and dual services were held each Sunday with different choirs 
singing at the two services. The attendance was good and was 
increasing, but the congregation was dissatisfied with the arrange- 
ment because frequently it divided families, with some members 
being required to attend one service and some the other. It also kept 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 149 

friends and relatives from seeing one another. At the end of three 
months' time, the session decided to discontinue the practice and 
have only one morning worship service. 

The second action regarded the service station which stood on 
church property on the corner of Italy and Main Streets. The 
property had been donated to the church by Mr. and Mrs. J. P. 
Rostan, Sr. The diaconate had for years debated whether it should 
be operating as a landlord. The building was difficult and costly to 
maintain. A study committee of the diaconate recommended that 
the building be razed. The proposal was approved, and a display of 
the master plan for the landscape design of the church campus was 
also approved. The removal of the service station and the under- 
ground oil tanks and the planting of grass in the area proved to be a 
wonderful enhancement to the appearance of church property and 
the town in general. 

Missionaries Dr. and Mrs. Walter Hull visited the church on 
November 8 and 9, 1986. A thanksgiving dinner was served on 
Saturday night with the Hulls reporting on their activities. They 
also led in worship on Sunday. The dedication of the dynamic 
couple to the service of the Lord has always been a great witness to 
the congregation. 

On November 16, 1986, Miss Thu Thi Tran and Mr. Quang Quy 
Nguyen were united in marriage in a beautiful ceremony in the 
sanctuary of the church. The congregation rejoiced in the marriage 
of Miss Tran, a member of the Vietnamese refugee family spon- 
sored by the church. The Presbyterian Women gave a reception for 
the couple in Pioneer Hall. Later that evening, a dinner for the out- 
of-town Vietnamese guests and intimate American friends was held 
at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Fletcher. These events were 
meaningful to all and added to the joy of the congregation in its 
relationship with the Tran family. 

One could tell that change was occurring in the church in 1987. 
For the first time in the history of the church, two women held the 
most important positions. Mrs. Mildred Fletcher was the first 
woman to serve as Clerk of Session, and Mrs. Elsie Whisenant was 
the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Board of Deacons. It 
was a good year, and both women established high standards for 
their successors. 

Dr. Edgar Lane, upon retirement from active practice of medi- 
cine, donated various equipment from his office to Dr. Walter Hull, 
our medical missionary to Zaire. The equipment was packed by 

150 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

members of the church and shipped to Dr. Hull for his use. 

With the help of the Strengthening of the Church Committee, the 
church moved into contemporary times with the purchase of a 
television and VCR. This equipment would enhance teaching 
methods and find wide use among the educational units of the 
church by the use of video tapes. 

Dr. Gregory Grana, clergy son of the church, conducted a series of 
Christian Renewal Services for the church May 24-26, 1987. He led 
members through a self-evaluation of their spiritual welfare. He 
also led the church through an appraisal of its ministries and 
possible areas of service for the future. This was a most enlighten- 
ing and challenging experience for all. 

Various staff changes were to be made during the spring and 
summer of 1987. Adam Huffman was hired for the second time to 
direct the youth programs of the church for the summer. In May, 
Mrs. Dianne Floyd resigned her position as church secretary and 
bookkeeper. She had served faithfully and effectively for thirteen 
years as church secretary. She and her family were moving to 
Columbia, South Carolina where she and her husband had new job 
opportunities. After a brief search period, Dianne was replaced as 
church secretary by Mrs. Bess Dean, a recent resident of the area. 
Mrs. Frances Micol Pascal was to become bookkeeper for several 
years. After six and a half years, Rev. Jack Parse resigned his 
position as Associate Minister. The church granted him a sabbati- 
cal for six months to pursue a course of study suitable to his special 
gifts. He went to engage in Clinical Pastoral training at Baptist 
Hospital, Columbia, South Carolina. After a period of evaluation 
and discussion, the session concluded that rather than seeking 
another Associate Minister, the church would seek to secure a 
Director of Christian Education. 

In the fall, a significant planting was done on the Main Street 
lawn. For years that lawn had been graced by a huge evergreen tree 
which was a landmark in the downtown area. In recent years, the 
church had granted permission for the town to decorate the tree 
with colored Christmas lights for the season. In 1986, however, a 
workman, unable to reach the top of the tree in his cherry picker, 
had topped the tree destroying its symmetry. Then, within a few 
months, lightning struck the tree killing a large section of it and 
making it completely unusable for decorating in the future. Dr. Ben 
Garrou, a horticulturist by avocation, offered the church three large 
evergreen trees to be planted in a grouping where the dying tree 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 151 

would be extracted. The offer was gratefully accepted, and profes- 
sional workers planted the three large trees. For Christmas, the 
town decorated the trees with small white lights. Coupled with the 
white lights the town also placed in the dogwood trees of the park 
area, they provided a beautiful seasonal setting for the church. The 
favorable response to this would lead to an annual decoration by the 

Trees seemed to assume significance in the life of the church in 
1987. Under the direction of Mrs. Linda Rostan, the church had its 
first angel tree in December. A tree was placed in Pioneer Hall and 
decorated with angels, each identified for a boy or girl of a specific 
age. The congregation took the angels, bought appropriate gifts, 
and returned them in time for distribution to needy families at 
Christmas. The venture had such appeal that it became an annual 
service project of the church. 

In decades past, the Waldensians of Valdese and the Moravians of 
Winston Salem had felt some kinship. Seeking to capture some- 
thing of that former relationship. Dr. Felker made arrangements 
with the Rev. Scott Venable of New Hope Moravian Church, 
Hickory, who came to our church on December 13 with several of his 
lay leaders to conduct a typical Moravian Love Feast. The candle- 
light service included scriptures, familiar carols, and the serving of 
sugar cookies and sweetened coffee. The ritual dates back to the 
eighteenth century observances of the Moravians in the United 

January 1988 was significant for the Men of the Church. Some 
years prior, the Men of the Church had ceased to exist because 
leaders could not be found. This year it was reorganized, and 
Horace Brown was elected as its new president. Monthly meetings 
were held with various men volunteering to prepare the dinners. It 
was determined that from time to time specific projects should be 
undertaken by the organization. 

The February celebration of the Edict of Emancipation of the 
Waldenses was not held at the church in 1988 but at the Old Rock 
School. The delicious catered meal was served in the Waldensian 
Room. Since the Old Rock School had been renovated recently and 
designated as a cultural center of the community, the program 
centered about the history of the school. Recognition was given to 
those who had built the school and to the graduates of the high 
school from 1924 to 1938. One interesting feature was the display of 
photographs of various classes and athletic groups. Following the 

152 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

program, there were tours of the refurbished auditorium, the art 
museum which was relocated there, and a newly established dental 

One speaker for the occasion was our friend, Pastor Giuseppe 
Platone, pastor of the Serre and Pra Del Torno Churches in Italy. 
Having visited in Valdese several years earlier, he was serving a 
sabbatical year as a foreign pastor at a retreat in Stoney Point, New 
York. He brought greetings from the Waldensian Church of Italy at 
the Saturday night dinner, and on Sunday he delivered the sermon. 

Some years prior to this time, the congregation had approved a 
pastor's equity allowance which served to assist him toward build- 
ing equity for retirement housing. As a part of the contract, he was 
given option to purchase the manse. In the spring of 1988, selected 
officers approached Dr. and Mrs. Felker to determine their interest 
in the purchase of the manse. They expressed an interest, if 
acceptable terms could be reached. The result was that the Felkers 
purchased the manse for $84,082. The money derived from the sale 
was in turn invested with the income from the same to go towards 
the minister's housing allowance which became a part of his new 
call, which was executed by congregational action. With that, the 
church removed itself from the responsibility of maintaining a 
home for its pastor. 

Flowers were placed in the sanctuary on May 8 in honor of Alexis 
Guigou on his 100th birthday. Mr. Guigou was the only survivor of 
the original twenty-nine Waldenses who came to Burke County. 
(Alexis Guigou died on March 6, 1990, at the age of 101.) 

In June 1988, a call was extended to Mr. James Kirkpatrick for 
the position of Director of Christian Education. Currently a 
resident of Charleston, West Virginia, he had formerly served both 
the Newton and Morganton First Presbyterian Churches of this 
presbytery. He was known by many in the congregation and would 
be well received. The call was extended to him; and he, his wife 
Kelly and sons Forrest and Reid moved to Valdese in August. With 
special gifts in youth ministry and recreation, Jim Kirkpatrck 
quickly became an asset to the church. 

For some years, many in the congregation had been saying that 
we needed to improve the landscaping around the church. With the 
approval of an overall plan, the Men of the Church decided that it 
should undertake small planting projects, one at a time. The first 
area chosen for improvement was the horse-shoe drive off St. 
Germain Avenue, Under the direction of Commander Edward 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


Bleynat and Dr. Benjamin Garrou, the men planted the area with 
dogwood and weeping cherry trees, azaleas, and other shrubs and 
annuals. In one day's time, the area was transformed from a 
nondescript site to a place of beauty. It was a great improvement 
which led to other planting projects over the next several years. 

July 13 became the occasion for a wonderful meal sponsored by 
the Witness Committee. Served at McGalliard Falls park, 120 
people enjoyed a fish fry prepared by the Charles Farris family. 

In August 1988, the church entered a new era with the anony- 
mous donation of a computer on which church records were to be 
kept. In the following year, two additional computers were pur- 
chased, and the staff moved toward complete operation and record 
keeping by computer. 

With the denomination holding its 200th anniversary, a special 
observance was held in October 1988 at Davidson College, spon- 
sored by Concord Presbytery. The observance known as "Celebrate 
the Journey" featured worship, short dramas, and displays by the 
various churches and institutions of the presbytery. Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church had a special display of items from the 

Volunteers Stuffing Envelopes at Grandfather Home for Children 
— 1989 — Clockwise: Marie Tise Bollinger, Frances Micol 
Pascal, Jack Burns, Donald Martinat, Helen Bleynat Warlick, 
Annie Mae Lancaster Pons, Aline Garrou Marchetti, Emma Ball 
Pons, Sylby Pons Martinat, Evelyn Pons Bronson. 

154 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

museum and a distribution of printed literature on Waldensian 
history. A number of our people attended the festive event. Then as 
a part of the denominational bicentennial celebration, a special 
worship service was held on November 6, 1988, noting God's 
blessing upon the denomination during the 200 years. 

In years past, the church leaders had been on television in brief 
interviews regarding Waldensian history, the annual festival, and 
other events of interest. The Waldensian Presbyterian Church was 
to "make it big" on international television when the church was 
visited by an Italian television crew in October 1988. The crew of 
three photographed various activities in the church and community 
and interviewed a number of individuals. The taping included a tour 
of the museum and a worship service. The film, which relates how 
the Waldensian heritage was being kept alive in Valdese, North 
Carolina, was shown on Italian television. 

In November, a new feature was added to the ritual of the worship 
services. Jim Kirkpatrick was asked by the Christian Education 
and Worship Committees to be responsible for having a "Children's 
Message" each Sunday during the worship service. This would 
mean much to the children and added a note of informality and 
spontaneity to the worship. This would be a regular feature during 
the years to come, with lay volunteers assuming the responsibility 
when Jim Kirkpatrick was away. 

On Maundy Thursday 1989, the Upper Room Communion 
Service was conducted in Pioneer Hall. This service is particularly 
meaningful for people since they go forward in family groups, sit 
around tables, and receive the elements of bread and wine. The 
season was climaxed with Easter Sunrise service, breakfast, and 
9:00 and 11:00 A.M. worship services. 

A happy and significant event in the life of the church occurred 
on April 29, 1989 when an elder of the church , Louis Vinay, Jr., 
married the Rev. Beth Ann Miller, a minister of Western North 
Carolina Presbytery and Associate Pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Church, Morganton, North Carolina. Both congregations rejoiced 
in this happy union. 

A staff change occurred in April 1989 when the church secretary, 
Mrs. Bess Dean, resigned. She and her husband moved to Dunn, 
North Carolina. She was replaced by Mrs. Kevin Duckworth 
(Nadine Pons), a lifelong member of the church. Within a short 
time, she was to also assume the duties of bookkeeper, relieving 
Mrs. Frances Micol Pascal of that duty. Nadine's knowledge of the 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 155 

church history and her familiarity with the congregation were to be 
a great asset to her. 

For some time, committees within the church and the town had 
been making plans for the centennial observance of the church and 
town in 1993. At the session meeting in May 1989, approval was 
given to the concept of a memorial fountain to be placed somewhere 
on the main street portion of the church property. The session also 
established a Centennial Fund for use in carrying out various 
activities and programs the centennial year. 

The annual observance of Vacation Church School was con- 
ducted June 11-15 in the evening hours. This provided the first 
opportunity for adults to be in attendance at the three classes which 
were provided for them on various subjects. 

A new funeral pall was given to the church as a memorial gift on 
July 16, 1989. The beautiful pall is white brocade with gold gadroon 
border, and bears the seal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 
gold brocade couched in red and blue thread. 

For some time, the presbytery had urged the churches to prepare 
church banners which could be used locally and also at large 
presbytery events. Mrs. Victor Garrou, Sr. (Ann Bills) designed and 
made a beautiful church banner, which bears the Waldensian seal 
on a white brocade background and with gold braid trim. The 
banner was used the first time at the worship at the Waldensian 
Festival on August 12, 1989 and was dedicated at the worship 
service on August 13. The banner is on permanent display in the 
Waldensian Museum and is used on festive occasions of the church. 
James Edward Garrou made a beautiful walnut standard bearer 
upon which the banner is displayed. This was a very fitting gift for 
the 300th anniversary of the Glorious Return of the Waldenses. A 
catered dinner was held in Pioneer Hall honoring the occasion. 

Also, at the August 13 worship. Miss Catherine Dalmas was 
honored for her untiring effort to minister to the needs of persons in 
the community and for her decades of work as a member of the 
Historical Committee, many of those years as secretary. She was 
given a plaque noting the honor and was formally recognized by the 
Historical Committee. 

For several years, the Long Range Committee had been studying 
the space needs of the congregation for worship. Much work had 
been done in evaluating needs and determining various courses of 
action. On November 19, 1989, a special service was held from 10:30 
A.M. to 12:00 Noon for the purpose of hearing a presentation of the 

156 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Long Range Committee, reviewing the preliminary drawings by the 
architect, and having a question and answer period. John A. 
Bleynat, Chairman of the Long Range Committee, made the 
presentation. Two other informational meetings were scheduled 
but not really necessary since the congregation was pleased with the 
plan. On December 3,1989, at a congregational meeting. Chairman 
Bleynat proposed "that the congregation approve the concept of 
enlarging the sanctuary and making improvements, as proposed by 
Mr. Lawrence Evans, church architect, and shown on the sketches 
and drawings presented to the congregation." If the proposal was 
accepted, the committee would carry out the second part of its 
charge: "to plan a financial campaign and appoint a building 
committee." The proposal authorized a capital funds campaign for 
$670,000 plus the $94,000 on hand in the Church Building Fund. 
Pledges were not to exceed six years, and the amount to be borrowed 
was not to exceed $406,000. When the vote was taken by secret 
ballot, there were 184 votes in favor and 36 against. Thus the first 
step was taken toward achieving a long-time goal of enlarged 
sanctuary facilities. 

The first big event in the year 1990 was the observance of the 
Edict of Emancipation of the Waldenses in 1848. The dinner was 
held in the Waldensian Room of the Old Rock School, and the 
program which followed was held in the auditorium. A video 
documentary, "The Waldensians: a History of Heritage," was 
shown by Myelitia and Terry Tarleton, who had produced the film. 
Funding for the project had come from the Rockefeller Foundation, 
Historic Valdese Foundation, and donations by individuals and 
groups from the area. Relating the history of the people, the film 
also showed scenes from the Waldensian Valleys of Italy and 
familiar scenes in Burke County. The program was well received, 
and numerous people bought copies of the video for their family 
video libraries. 

The congregation met again in formal session to hear an informa- 
tive report from the Long Range Planning Committee. The com- 
mittee outlined the anticipated financial needs of the building 
program and proposed: (1) a series of informational cottage meet- 
ings, (2) personal canvassing of each household by volunteers from 
our officers and congregation at large, (3) the timing of the 
campaign in February and March and a thanksgiving meeting at the 
family night supper on April 4, 1990, and (4) the session to 
nominate a Building Committee to the congregation with construe- 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 157 

tion to begin in June. The proposals were approved by the congrega- 
tion. The congregation met again in March to approve the five 
names as presented by the Long Range Committee to serve on the 
Building Committee. They were John A. Bleynat, Chairman; 
William Brinkley, Victor Garrou, Sr., Edward Pascal, and Charlie 
Vinay. At another meeting in March, the congregation formally 
requested approval of the Presbytery of Western North Carolina to 
permit the church to encumber its property to borrow money for 
construction purposes. 

On Palm Sunday 1990, Ms. Yvone Lenard Rowe, a professor at 
the University of California, Los Angeles, gave a historical presen- 
tation with slides, produced by her husband, Dr. Wayne Rowe. She 
discussed the persecution of the Waldenses in Provence, France, in 
the 16th century. She encouraged the participation of the Wal- 
denses of Valdese in a special gathering of Waldenses in France in 

On April 22, the church was visited by Pastor Hugo Malan, 
Moderator of the Waldensian Churches of Uruguay and Argentina. 
He brought greetings from those sister churches. 

Father's Day 1990 was special in that John A. Bleynat and George 
Williams, Jr. were honored with the "Churchman's Award" for their 
devoted service to the church in various capacities. This was the 
first time such awards were given by the Presbyterian Men. It was 
to become an annual practice. 

The fall of 1990 saw the beginning of the construction program. 
On August 29, 1990, the construction crew began to remove the 
brick pavers from the patio in front of the church and the walkway 
to the educational facilities. The sanctuary extension was staked 
off, and the maple trees which were in the way were cut down. Since 
the basketball court was at the site of the new parking lot, it became 
necessary to remove it during site preparation in September. When 
weather permitted, the concrete slab for the extension of the 
sanctuary was poured. It was in November of 1990 that a temporary 
wall was built inside the entrance end of the sanctuary; this would 
permit the demolition of the south wall of the sanctuary at the 
proper time. It soon became evident that the congregation could not 
enter the sanctuary through the extension while it was under 
construction; therefore, the last window on the west side was 
removed, and a temporary entrance was utilized on the west side of 
the sanctuary. While the structure temporarily lost its beauty and 
stateliness, the congregation accepted each inconvenience with 

158 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

grace and endurance. 

Mrs. Fern Abernethy Brinkley, who had served as church organ- 
ist for some years, submitted her resignation in mid- September 
1990. For over six months, the church utihzed several interim 
organists until an organist could be employed. 

The generosity of the people was evident in the fall of 1990. A gift 
of $1,000 was given to Cliffhaven, a home for battered women being 
organized in Burke County. An anonymous challenge gift of $1,000 
for missionaries Dr. and Mrs. Walter Hull was matched and 
exceeded. With the advent of troop movements to the Persian Gulf, 
in November 1990, the church sent "care packages" to those of our 
area who were serving in the conflict. The church offered special 
prayers as troops were deployed and engaged in war with Iraq 
beginning January 17, 1991. 

Over the past several years, members of the Historical Commit- 
tee had been at work preparing a pictorial genealogy of the first 
families of Valdese. A series of albums was completed and placed on 
view in the Waldensian Museum. Supplementing that pictorial 
genealogy, the committee in 1990 chose to publish a book they had 
compiled. Genealogy of Waldensian Settlers in Valdese, North 
Carolina, 1893-1990. Waldensian descendants were especially 
grateful to receive much data which they did not possess personally. 

December found the church doing something new. Because of our 
construction program and inadequate space in the sanctuary, the 
Christmas Cantata was given in the auditorium of the Old Rock 
School. The Chancel Choir and the sixteen-piece orchestra gave a 
beautiful musical program which included the Christmas portion of 
Handel's Messiah. Because the service was held in a public building, 
the service attracted many who would not normally join in worship 
in a church sanctuary. 

During December 1990, the angel tree was placed in Pioneer Hall, 
but the Chrismon trees were not used in the sanctuary because of 
the lack of space due to construction work. The angel tree provided 
a ministry to 75 families and 182 children. 

As the church entered the year 1991, little did the staff and 
congregation realize that it would be one of the most historic years 
in the life of the church. With the program to enlarge the sanctuary 
and make other improvements, momentous events were to tran- 
spire in a year's time. 

With the construction program, the church site was a bee hive of 
activity with the various work crews. It was amazing that the 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 159 

congregation responded so well to the inconvenience, the dirt, and 
the clutter. Even the children were cooperative, remaining out of 
the way of construction and not bothering any of the materials or 
getting in the way. We were able to continue the Wednesday Youth 
Club despite the inconvenience of the construction. The only 
inconvenience was the scheduling of funerals. 

It was a year which was very trying for the church staff, 
attempting to carry on their daily responsibilities despite construc- 
tion noise and interruptions. It was decided that finances would 
permit the removal of the tower on the Educational Building so that 
it would not compete with the sanctuary, and the brick Educational 
Building would be stuccoed. The removal of the tower was one event 
which practically drove the church staff to distraction. The demoli- 
tion of the tower could not be done with a wrecking ball and chain. 
Instead it necessitated the use of a jack hammer and wrecking bar. 
Everyone seemed to know that the inconvenience, dirt, and noise 
were all worth the effort to achieve our goal of enlarged and 
enhanced facilities. 

The year 1991 began with a bang on January 5 and 6 with a visit 
from our missionaries to Zaire, Dr. and Mrs. Walter Hull. This was 
their last visit before returning to Zaire in June. A Saturday night 
dinner honored them in Pioneer Hall. Then they led in worship on 
Sunday. The financial drive for the Hulls, conducted during No- 
vember and December 1990, had resulted in a total collection of 
$2,911.40 to go toward building a permanent school building at 
Tshikaji, Zaire. The check was presented to Dr. and Mrs. Hull, who 
rejoiced in the generosity of the church. When the Hulls left 
Valdese, we assumed that it would be four years before they visited 
with us again. How wrong we were! The nation of Zaire experienced 
a political uprising beginning in September. In mid-October, all 
missionaries had to be evacuated for their physical safety. Thus, the 
Hulls visited in Valdese again on November 23 and 24, 1991 to 
report on their escape from Zaire and the political and economic 
situation there. 

The Waldensian Emancipation was celebrated on February 16, 
1991 at the Old Rock School. The catered dinner in the Waldensian 
Room was followed by a presentation by Dr. Cathy Pons, a descen- 
dant of this settlement and a professor of linguistics at Indiana 
University. Having done her doctoral thesis on "Language Death 
Among Waldensians of Valdese, North Carolina," she spoke on 
"What Do You Have to Know To Be A Waldensian?" A copy of her 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Laying of Cornerstone for Sanctuary Enlargement 

February 17, 1991 

PARTICIPANTS IN SERVICE — L-R: John A. Bleynat, Jim Kirkpatrick, Rev. 
J. Clyde Plexico, Glenn R. Yoder, Rev, Walter H. Styles, Hilda Ogle Jones, Rev. 
Paul H. Felker, Carol Price Felker, Rev. Caroline B. Gourley, Executive Secretary, 
Presbytery of Western North Carolina. 

John Mode, Director, and Chancel Choir 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 161 

thesis was placed in the museum library for use by anyone doing 
research or study. 

Sunday, February 17, 1991, on the 94th anniversary of the laying 
of the first cornerstone of the church in 1897, a special worship 
service was conducted in the sanctuary. Then the congregation 
went in a procession to the site of the sanctuary extension for a 
special service of the laying of the cornerstone. Assisting Dr. Felker 
with the service were the Rev. Caroline Gourley, General Presbyter 
of Western North Carolina Presbytery, and former pastors of this 
church, now retired, the Rev. Walter H. Styles and the Rev. J. Clyde 
Plexico, Jr. At the laying of the cornerstone, two time capsules were 
placed in the stone. The intention was that these time capsules will 
be opened in 2041, fifty years after their placement. (A complete 
listing of the items in the time capsules is given in Part II, Chapter 

Palm Sunday 1991 was more low key than normal because of 
restraints of the facilities. Because of construction, the noonday 
Holy Week Services were held at the First United Methodist 
Church. On Maundy Thursday, the Upper Room Communion 
Service was conducted in Pioneer Hall with one hundred in 
attendance. Despite the surroundings, nothing could dampen the 
enthusiasm of the congregation when celebrating the resurrection 
of the Lord. On Easter, the Sunrise Service was conducted in the 
church cemetery with sixty-seven people who then went for break- 
fast in Pioneer Hall, prepared by Men of the Church. Dual services 
were conducted at 9:00 and 11:00 A.M. with music by the chancel 
choir accompanied by a brass quartet. Three hundred fifty-eight 
were in attendance for the two services. 

There has always been a good spirit between the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church and the sister churches of the community. 
This was made evident when it became necessary to vacate the 
sanctuary during the construction program. Both First United 
Methodist Church and First Baptist Church offered the use of their 
facilities during that time. The Worship Committee preferred that 
the worship be held on site if possible; therefore, the worship 
services were held in Pioneer Hall for several weeks. 

As a part of our ecumenical cooperation, the Methodist and 
Presbyterian churches of Valdese conducted a "Festival of Chris- 
tian Unity" on May 5, 1991. The elders and their spouses of the 
Presbyterian Church and members of the administrative board and 
their spouses of the Methodist Church, and special guests met at 

162 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Pioneer Hall for a joint dinner. Then the group journeyed to the 
First United Methodist Church where a communion service was 
conducted. Bishop Bevel Jones of the Methodist Church and the 
Rev. Caroline Gourley, General Presbyter of Western North Caroli- 
na Presbjrtery, conducted the service, assisted by the Rev. Cameron 
West, pastor of the Methodist Church, and our pastor. Dr. Paul 
Felker. The Methodist mode of receiving communion was used, 
with the congregation going to the altar to receive the elements. It 
was a very festive service containing both Presbyterian and Meth- 
odist elements of worship and with the processional being led by a 
Scottish guest musician playing the bagpipes, reminiscent of the 
Scottish heritage of the Presbyterian Church. 

Another ecumenical experience came in July 1991 when the 
Presbyterians attended worship with the Methodists on July 7 and 
14. On the first occasion, the Methodist minister and choir con- 
ducted a typical Methodist service, with the Presbyterian minister 
assisting. On the second occasion, the roles were reversed with a 
typical Presbyterian service being held. A social hour followed the 
worship service each Sunday, providing opportunity for the two 
congregations to greet one another. 

In April of 1991, Mrs. Rhonda Smith was employed as organist of 
the church, following the resignation of Mrs. Fern Abernethy 
Brinkley. A native of Florida, Mrs. Smith graduated from Hobe 
Sound Bible College in Florida, and holds a Masters in Sacred 
Music from Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina. She 
is a multi-talented musician and vocalist. 

On June 30, a special patriotic worship service was conducted 
with Dr. Felker preaching on an appropriate theme. Special patrio- 
tic music was incorporated in the service, with Mrs. Smith at the 
organ, assisted by Mrs. Ann Garrou at the piano, Miss Noelle 
Garrou playing piccolo, Brian Franklin playing trumpet and Miss 
Angela Hyde playing drums. 

Missions were emphasized by two events in the church during the 
summer of 1991. Miss Pamela Bonner, a Spanish and French 
teacher and member of this church, served as a member of a 
Western North Carolina Presbytery mission team going to Mexico 
to help build a school dormitory. Director of Christian Education 
Jim Kirkpatrick accompanied three of our youth as they became a 
part of a home mission work crew in West Virginia. Kimberly 
Rostan, Susanne Garrett, and Kristen Hart had a tremendous 
experience and learned to lay water lines and to roof a barn. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 163 

Participants of these two events reported on their activities at 
church night dinners in the fall. 

With the construction of the church in progress in 1991, it 
seemed an unlikely time to have other financial drives. However, 
two successful drives were conducted almost simultaneously. An 
effort to raise money for a new piano to be placed in the sanctuary 
resulted in $4,028. A new Kawai upright piano was delivered in time 
for the opening service in the enlarged sanctuary. 

The other fund raising effort was to secure funds to beautify the 
church cemetery. A site plan was approved with a paved walkway 
running north and south in the cemetery and perpendicular to the 
roadways. Flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials were to be 
planted along the walkway. Additional flowering trees would be 
planted around the perimeter of the cemetery to enhance its beauty. 
Work on this project was done during the early part of 1992 with 
$3,800 raised. 

The building committee had been led to believe that the construc- 
tion work could be completed by Easter of 1991. It soon became 
apparent that was a vain hope. One delay resulted when the plaster 
ceiling in the original portion of the sanctuary had to be removed for 
safety's sake. After that delay, it was hoped that the dedication 
could occur on July 4, which would have been the anniversary of the 
dedication of the original sanctuary in 1899. Then it was discovered 
that the completion date was delayed when the additional pews did 
not arrive. 

Upon completion of the sanctuary, the laying of the carpet, and 
the installation of the old pews, it was decided to hold the first 
worship service in the sanctuary as soon as possible, with folding 
chairs being used in the newer portion in lieu of pews. That service 
was held on September 15, with an observance of the Lord's Supper. 
Dr. Felker's meditation of the day was appropriately entitled, "Let's 

The dedication service was held on October 6, 1991 with the Rev. 
Walter H. Styles, a former minister, preaching. The service featured 
a special dedication litany and prayer and appropriate hymns and 
anthems. Rev. Styles also conducted Renewal Services Sunday 
night through Tuesday night of that week. 

On Sunday, October 20, an open house of the renovated facilities 
was provided for the public. A special musical service was held in 
the afternoon with Mrs. Rhonda Smith providing a program of 
organ, piano, and vocal music with music ranging from Chopin to 

164 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Building Committee L-R: Edward Pascal, Charlie Vinay, William 
M. Brinkley, John A. Bleynat, Chmn., Victor H. Garrou. 

Rachmaninoff and Gershwin. A reception in Pioneer Hall followed 
with a large number of friends from the community in attendance. 

The completion of the construction program brought a great sigh 
of relief to everyone. There was rejoicing at the beauty of the 
facilities and pride in every accomplishment. Now the sanctuary 
had been enlarged to accommodate 144 additional seats, a commo- 
dious narthex, two rest rooms, a bride's room, and a sound control 
room. Everyone rejoiced that the beautiful stained glass windows 
had been duplicated with such accuracy. 

On the exterior, a new brick patio provided fellowship space, with 
the sanctuary accessible to the handicapped. A covered walkway 
from the sanctuary to the educational facilities and beyond to a 
porte-cochere made movement between the buildings much more 
pleasant in bad weather. An elevator, with access from the walkway, 
made movement to the first and second floors of Pioneer Hall easy 
for the handicapped and aged. A parking lot, with entrance from 
Italy Street, now accommodates thirty cars. The support system for 
the bell in the church tower was reinforced to make it usable for 
years to come. Now, once again the church bell would peal for 
worship and special services. 

The greatest improvement in exterior appearance was that the 
yellow brick Educational Building, constructed in the 1950's, was 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


Waldensian Presbyterian Church after 1991 Renovation 

Interior of Enlarged Sanctuary — Easter Sunday, 1992 

From St. Germain Street 

166 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

changed. The tower was removed. The architect of that era had 
intended that a new sanctuary be built adjacent to it and running 
east and west, facing the site of the current museum. That plan had 
been abandoned. With the removal of the tower and the facility 
being stuccoed to match all the new fiberglass stucco of the other 
buildings, the complex now matches in exterior materials and gives 
a unified appearance. Total construction costs and interest charges 
were approximately $946,560. 

As the completion of the facilities was drawing nigh, the Histori- 
cal Committee became aware of the poor condition of the exterior of 
the museum. The stucco was badly cracked, and the cement block 
construction showed through the thin layer of stucco. It was decided 
that while construction was going on, Temo & McCall Construction 
Company, which had stuccoed the church facilities, should be 
employed to improve the museum. A layer of plastic foam was 
installed over the exterior and then stuccoed. This will prevent 
deterioration of the stucco job in the near future. Further investiga- 
tion disclosed that a new roof needed to be installed and interior 
leaks and repainting done. Funds from accumulated savings of the 
Historical Committee and anonymous donations from church 
members made it possible for all this work to be done in 1991. Thus 
at last, all church facilities now look alike. Another thing which 
enhances the contribution of the museum to the community is the 
placement of a historical marker in front of the Waldensian 
Museum. Purchased by the Historical Committee, it identifies 
points of interest in Valdese. This is very helpful to visitors of the 
town and guests of the museum. 

In the meantime, the Presbj^erian Men were sponsoring several 
landscaping projects under the direction of Edward Bleynat and 
Benjamin Garrou. The projects enhanced the landscaping of the 
church facilities and resulted in a financial saving of several 
thousand dollars. The projects also provided opportunities for 
wonderful fellowship as men, women, and youth labored cooper- 
atively. Upon the completion of the parking lot, there was a "work 
Saturday" when the surrounding area was planted with grass. 
Bradford pear trees were planted between the parking area and the 
basketball court. A later project was the replanting of the courtyard 
area between Pioneer Hall and the sanctuary. The final project was 
the planting of grass and shrubs from the patio retaining wall south 
toward St. Germain Street. Later the church received a memorial 
gift of a patio table and four benches for the courtyard. A final 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 167 

landscaping project was the improvement of the plantings around 
the museum. 

While all these construction projects were being carried out in 
1991, the regular church programs continued. A Family Vacation 
Church School was conducted in July. A wide variety of youth 
activities enhanced the summer. They ranged from swimming 
parties to short trips, and many children and youth attended the 
camps and conference schedule at Camp Grier. In addition, four 
adults attended the Music and Worship Conference at Montreat 
and several ladies attended the Women's Conference. In June, the 
Service Committee hosted, for the third year, a cookout at 
McGalliard Falls for the residents of AGAPE Retirement Housing. 

Several years earlier, a computer system had been installed in the 
church offices. Church staff had been utilizing the programs as 
much as possible, but Nadine Pons Duckworth, the secretary and 
bookkeeper, had found the bookkeeping system very inadequate. 
Thus, with the approval of the officers, much of the calendar year 
was spent in switching over to a special program especially designed 
for use in Presbyterian Churches. The transition required inter- 
minable work by the bookkeeper and resulted in inadequate finan- 
cial reporting during the interim. Everyone, however, looked to the 
time of its completion and a more adequate system of record 
keeping and reporting which was achieved in early 1992. 

For some months, a town committee had been preparing plans for 
a town Centennial Park which would be located on the Main Street 
property of the church. The session had agreed at an earlier time 
that it would lease that property to the town and that a Centennial 
Park would be erected at public expense. In early December 1991, 
the committee appeared before the session, displayed a model of the 
proposed park and requested church approval of the concept. The 
session approved with the agreement to lease the property to the 
town for twenty-five years, with the possibility of a renewed lease if 
it was agreeable to both parties and if the town had maintained the 
park properly. The plan was then to be presented to the town 
council for approval, and the idea was that the park would be built 
and in place for the centennial with dedication of the park to take 
place as a part of the festivities on July 4, 1993. The design of the 
park, as portrayed in the model, featured a three -tiered metal 
fountain in the center of a park area with paved walks, flowering 
trees and shrubs, against a low rock wall which would display 
symbols depicting various events in the history of the town. The 

168 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

park will surely be a spot of beauty and will add much to the 
attractiveness of the town as well as the church property. The 
congregation approved the final plans for the park on August 16, 

The ninety-ninth year of the church (1992) proved to be a year of 
great activity. There was the usual activity with births and bap- 
tisms, sickness, death and funerals. There was an abundance of 
weddings in the new sanctuary, special days for the Boy and Girl 
Scouts, and for the Presbyterian Women and Presbyterian Men. 
Each Sunday seemed to have some special activity so that the 
normal, or traditional worship became somewhat abnormal. The 
various activities of the church were well supported and financed, 
with special offerings for a variety of activities. We rejoiced that our 
funds were coming in well and that the church was not experiencing 
any difficulties in meeting its budget or its building fund payments. 

In the spring, prior to Easter, work was begun to beautify the 
church cemetery, under the guidance of Mrs. Carol Felker. A 
concrete walk was laid, concrete benches were installed and an- 
tiqued, and a water line was installed. One Saturday, approximately 
thirty men spent five hours planting numerous trees and shrubs. 
Certainly the beauty of the site was enhanced, and plans were made 
for additional plantings in the fall. At the Easter Sunrise Service, 
the worshippers were pleased to find the Kwanzan cherry trees with 
scattered blooms. 

In 1992, because of the enlarged sanctuary, the session did not 
feel the necessity for conducting dual Easter services in the 
sanctuary. A capacity congregation, with numerous friends and 
relatives, gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Christ with 
beautiful music by the Chancel Choir and brass ensemble. Those 
assembled felt it was one of the best experiences of worship 

In July 1992, a group of twenty-five from the church and 
community attended an international gathering of Waldensians in 
Merindol, France. In this area in France in 1545, a number of 
Waldensian villages were destroyed and the people massacred. 
After the meeting, the group visited the Waldensian Valleys in Italy. 
At the beginning of the trip, when the group arrived in Frankfurt, 
Germany, they were met at the airport by a group of Waldensians 
from nearby Walldorf, Germany, who provided a meal for them. 
The experiences of this trip show that the ties between Valdese 
Waldensians and Waldensians in other parts of the world remain 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 


strong. The trip was organized and led by Louis D. Bounous, Sr. and 
CDR Edward L. Bleynat and assisted by travel agent Gennifer 
Garrou- Albert, great-great granddaughter of Jean Garrou (Bobo), 
who came to Valdese as a colonist in November 1893. 

A second pictorial directory was produced in 1992 to replace the 
one from 1983. This will enable the newer and the older people of 
our church to recognize one another. It will also serve as a wonderful 
record of the enrollment in the centennial year. 

The session regretfully accepted the resignation of James W. 
Kirkpatrick, Director of Christian Education, effective October 1, 
1992. Mr. Kirkpatrick resigned to accept a staff position for youth 
ministry with Holston Presbytery. A farewell dinner for the 
Kirkpatrick family on September 27 was attended by a large 
number of church members. The congregation will miss the vitality 
of Jim Kirkpatrick's ministry to the church for the past four years, 
especially in his work with the children and youth. 

Work continues to be carried out by the various committees of the 


July 8, 1992 
Members of the Waldensian Association of Walldorf, Germany (L) 
welcome the Valdese group at the Frankfurt Airport with a sign 
displaying the Waldensian emblem. On the right are some of the 
Valdese group: Naomi Bounous Rostan, Barbara Bounous Wall, 
and Rene and Enes Durand. 

170 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

session and diaconate. There is a feeling of great anticipation. 
Many members of this congregation are engaged in committee work 
and decision making regarding the church and town celebration of 
the centennial in 1993. There is much activity with everyone 
looking forward to a grand and glorious celebration during the 
centennial year. 

It is unusual for a minister in any denomination to remain in a 
given pastorate as long as Dr. Felker has remained at the Walden- 
sian Presbyterian Church. When outsiders question how this 
relationship has survived so long, several answers can be given. 
First, it is evident that the pastor and his wife are well loved and 
that they love the congregation. The couple appreciates Waldensian 
history and has become well versed in it. In addition they have 
worked closely with the Waldensian Museum. In a sense they are 
adopted Waldensians, and this has endeared them to the people. 

Secondly, the minister believes in being thoroughly Presbyterian 
and "doing things decently and in order." Through the years, he has 
developed a well-established committee system which carries out 
the work of the church. With the talents of about 180 people 
involved in committee work, plus a large number involved in the 
Sunday School, Youth Club, youth fellowships, and choirs, the 
majority of the people who are able-bodied are active in some aspect 
of ministry through the church. When people are involved in the 
work of the church, they are happier and they feel more a part of the 

Volunteerism is one of the greatest assets of this church. There is 
no task which is undertaken without a number of people being 
capable of carrying out the responsibility. The church has a great 
wealth of leadership, as well as persons who are excellent suppor- 
ters of every program. In addition, the generosity of this congrega- 
tion, in support of the ministry and programs of the church, is 
indicative of the loyalty of a dedicated people. Once the people are 
convinced of a need, they will support a program to the fullest. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 171 

The Giving 











$ 53,987 

$ 2,847 

$ 93,656 






































































































































History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


CHERUB CHOIR — Linda York, Director — Bottom Row L-R: Joanna Smith, 
Coulter Brinkley, Julianna Martinat, Catherine Fletcher, Regan Reynolds, 
Brittany Robinson. Middle Row L-R: Jessica Smith, Samantha Powell, Sarah 
Harrison, Shawn Powell. Top Row L-R: Emily Harrison, Matthew Mode, Anna 
Parsons, Jessica Smith, Anna Heilman, Michael Morse. 

YOUTH HANDBELL CHOm — Mary Louise Pascal Hatley, Director — Front 
Row L-R: John C. Lafferty, Katie Mastin, Shelley Mastin, Tia Zimmerman, Leslie 
Sherrill, Matthew Barus, Matt Mitchell. Back Row L-R: Jill Mitchell, Katie Bevis, 
Snow Sherrill, Mary Louise Pascal Hatley, Laura Stevenson, Will Cannon. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 



LES JEUNES CHANTEURS — John Mode, Director — Front Row L-R: Forrest 
Kirkpatrick, Radd Nesbit, Amy Church, Shannon Rembert. Second Row L-R: Marian 
Sherrill, Molly Wellman, Kristen Hart, Kimberly Rostan, Julienne Parse, Stephanie 
Manfredi. Third Row L-R: Michael Blackwell, John Mode, Choir Director; Seth 
Harrison, Joshua Duckworth, Tod Blackwell, Sam Jones, Jason Hart. 

teacher, Dustin Powell, Jacob Smith, Josh Smith, Reid Kirkpatrick, Wesley 
Cannon, Robert Martinat, Marianne Cannon, teacher; Catherine Lafferty. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


FRENCH CIRCLE — AprU 13, 1992 — Seated L-R: ErmeUne GriU (Giovanni) 
Bigotto, Elda Rostan (John) Tessore. 2nd Row L-R: Lora Perrou, Norma Rostan 
(Reece) Scull, Helen GriU (Joseph) Broverio, Lena Pons (Gus) Whisenant, Aline 
Garrou (Albert) Marehetti. 3rd Row L-R: Elena Long (Robert) Michelin, Isabel 
Dalmas, Ada Pons, Elizabeth Pons (Hal) Harrison, Julia Pascal (Paul) Bardet, Susie 
Bleynat (Jason) Bridges. 4th Row L-R: Yvette Long (Curtis) Foshee, Catherine 
Rivoire Cole, Catherine Dabnas, Evelyn (Olin) Stiff, Lois Holder (George) Bleynat. 

MEN'S CHOIR ENTERTAINS YOUTH CLUB — February 19, 1992 — First 
Row L-R: Granville Morrow, David Fletcher, Jack Burns, Marc Mitchell. Second 
Row L-R: Victor H. Garrou, John A. Guigou, Benton Brinkley, Dr. Benjamin W. 
Garrou, Dr. Edgar W. Lane, Jr., John Mode, Director. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 



CENTENNIAL COMMITTEE — Seated L-R: Linda York; Dr. Benjamin W. 
Garrou, chmn.; Hilda Ogle Jones. Standing L-R: Catherine Rivoire Cole; Dr. Paul 
H. Felker, pastor; Carol Perrou Brown; Edward Pascal; Evelyn Bounous; 
Catherine Dalmas; John A. Bleynat. 

CHURCH HISTORY COMMITTEE — Seated L-R: Evelyn Pons Bronson; Olga 
Pascal; Jewel Pyatt Bounous; Rosalba Pascal Shook, chmn.; Naomi Bounous 
Rostan. Standing L-R: Catherine Rivoire Cole; Carol Price Felker; Dr. Paul H. 
Felker, pastor; Imogene Pons Hudson; Catherine Dalmas; John A. Bleynat. 

176 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


The major work of the church is done through committees under 
the authority of the session or the diaconate. A brief summary of the 
duties of the major committees follows. 

The Worship Committee has oversight of all the worship services, 
the administration of the sacraments, the special preaching 
missions, and worship for the Christian seasons of Christmas and 
Easter. It chooses the ritual that will be used in weekly worship, and 
the types of worship to use on special occasions. As a result of the 
committee's decisions, the weekly worship usually includes two 
anthems by two choirs and congregational participation through 
prayers, scripture readings, creeds, and offerings. We believe it is 
vital that, rather than being the observers of worship, that all 
persons be vitally engaged in worship with God as the observer and 
recipient of our praise. We believe that it is vital for children to be 
involved; therefore, each Sunday there is a children's message, and 
children participate regularly through the choirs. 

For over fifty years, choral music has been a vital part of the 
worship of this church, which is known for the accomplished choirs 
and the outstanding anthems and musical programs presented at 
Christmas and Easter. Currently the vocal choirs are Chancel Choir 
(adult), Les Jeunes Chanteurs (junior high and high school age). 
Junior Choir (grades 4-6), Melody Choir (grades 1-3) and Cherubs 
(age 3-6 years). In the past decade, handbells have also assumed 
their importance in worship. Currently there is an Adult Handbell 
Choir and a Youth Handbell Choir. 

The Worship Committee is responsible for planning all the 
special worship services such as Christmas cantatas, Waldensian 
observances such as February 17 and August 15. It also plans the 
annual series of evangelistic or Christian growth services held in the 
late spring or early fall. During February and August, the congrega- 
tion normally sings one French hymn each Sunday and the Chancel 
Choir sings French anthems. This perpetuates the Waldensian 
heritage of this church. 

Baptismal services are conducted as a part of the regular worship. 
These follow the regular Presbyterian ritual. For each service, a 
Presbyterian elder, representing the session, stands with the minis- 
ter and assists with the service in a supportive capacity. The 
designated elder is normally one who has a close spiritual relation- 
ship to the individuals involved. In keeping with Waldensian 
tradition, godparents are often chosen. 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 177 

The Lord's Supper is normally observed quarterly during the 
morning worship and on Maundy Thursday night. A distinctive 
aspect has been the exclusive use of wine, which was a Waldensian 
custom. Homemade wine was used until about ten years ago. Then 
it became more difficult to secure, because fewer members are 
producing wine for family consumption. In 1991, the decision was 
made to serve both wine and grape juice since children, and some 
adults, prefer juice. Communion is normally received in the pew and 
served by the elders, but on occasion such as the Upper Room 
Communion in Pioneer Hall, it is served by the minister and an 
elder as the people are seated at the table in small groups. 

Funerals are normally brief and emphasize thanksgiving to God 
for the life of the deceased, a celebration of faith and belief in the 
resurrection. Funerals are usually conducted in the sanctuary, but 
may be held at the funeral chapel or at graveside. The pastor. Dr. 
Felker, is known and loved for the warm, personal funeral services 
he conducts. Over the past two decades, it has become customary 
for our congregation to send memorial gifts to the church, with each 
bereaved family specifying the church cause. These memorial gifts 
to the deceased have amounted to as much as $10,000 in a given 

Church weddings are as varied as the couples united in marriage. 
They may be small intimate family weddings or grand and glorious 
with large congregations in attendance. The committee restricts the 
choice of music to religious or classical music. Vocal music and 
organ and piano are normally used. Others may choose to use brass 
or strings. The desire is to make each wedding a Christian worship 
service which calls upon the couple to be faithful to Christ and their 
vows. As has been the custom for over thirty years, each newly wed 
couple is presented a Bible as a gift from the church. 

The Commitment and Witness Committee seeks in various ways 
to lead our people to a deeper commitment to Christ and His 
church. It is concerned with reaching the unchurched, their visita- 
tion, and enlistment. It is responsible for keeping the attendance 
records through the signing of the friendship pads at worship 
services. This committee has sought to make ours a friendlier 
church by encouraging everyone to speak to visitors, invite them to 
return to church, and visiting in their homes. To provide times to 
build community spirit, the committee sponsors a monthly church 
dinner and plans informative and inspirational programs. 

The Christian Education Committee has long had an important 

178 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

task in this church, as evidenced by the employment of a Director of 
Christian Education or a Minister of Christian Education. This 
person oversees the work, serves as a resource person, and works 
closely with this and other committees. This committee provides 
for the Sunday School, the youth fellowship groups, the Youth Club, 
library, audio visual room, and nursery. Just recruiting leadership 
for these numerous activities is demanding. Over sixty people are 
required for these functions. 

The Christian Relations Committee is responsible for providing 
a wide scope of activities. Leaders are recruited to assist with such 
programs as the annual Vacation Church School, provide liaison to 
Boy and Girl Scouts, plan confirmation and new member classes, 
provide vocational guidance for senior highs, and see that the 
outdoor nativity scene is produced. Other responsibilities are 
assigned to this committee as needs arise. 

The Historical Committee has the responsibility of preserving 
the heritage of our church and the Waldensian people. This includes 
the maintenance and operation of the museum, the scheduling of its 
use, and providing docents for museum tours throughout the year. 
Numerous school and church groups visit annually, as well as local 
and out-of-town visitors, sometimes on an impromptu schedule. 
For these reasons, this is the largest committee in the church with 
approximately seventy-five members. This committee also plans 
for special Waldensian observances such as February 17, festival 
day in August, and for visits of persons interested in Waldensian 
history or culture. Not only is this committee responsible for the 
physical cleaning of the museum, it is responsible for the financial 
investments which make it financially independent from church 

The Stewardship and Finance Committee is responsible for 
developing the liberality of the people, educating them concerning 
the financial needs of the church courts and the local church, 
planning the budget, developing the annual financial campaign, 
and having oversight of the expenditures and distribution of the 
gifts. It also seeks to encourage the giving of memorials, bequests 
and trusts. This congregation has for years been recognized as a 
very benevolent church which has little or no difficulty in meeting 
its requests. It consistently ranks fifth or sixth in the presbytery in 
benevolent gifts. In addition to the higher courts, the church 
provides local benevolent funds to Valdese Hospital Chaplaincy , 
United Christian Shelter, Burke United Christian Ministries, the 

Commitment and Service to Christ and Community 179 

Life Enrichment Center, Flynn Home, Options (for battered wom- 
en), and Hospice. 

Through the years, the congregation has been encouraged to give 
memorial gifts when a member or loved one dies. In years when 
there are a number of deaths, the memorial gifts increase. Memori- 
als may be made to a variety of funds, such as the Building Fund, 
Museum Fund, Museum 2000 Fund, Organ Fund, Ruth M. 
Williams Music Scholarship Fund, and Service Committee. 

The Service Committee is a very active committee. The commit- 
tee of over twenty persons does a tremendous amount of visiting 
among the sick and shut-ins, the bereaved, and those with special 
needs. It provides a semiannual clothing drive and the distribution 
of clothing to a variety of agencies. An average of a ton of clothing is 
collected and distributed each year. In addition it administers the 
distribution of about $5,000 each year to the sick, needy, and 
indigent who come to the church for aid. This is one of the fmest 
ministries of the church, one that few other churches in this area do 
to this extent. The actual distribution of the funds is carried out by 
the staff and the chairpersons under the direction of the committee. 
In addition to these activities, the committee mails seasonal and 
birthday cards to the elderly and sympathy cards to the bereaved. 
Each year "care packages" are mailed to the college students at 
exam time, and each year the committee sponsors a patient at 
Western Carolina Center. 

Other committees utilized by the church organization are: Main- 
tenance, Cemetery, Ushering and Funeral Ushers, Computer, Van, 
Campus Design, Personnel, and Festival. In addition, there may be 
ad hoc committees established for one-time events. As is evident, 
this is a working church. If a member is not working in some 
capacity, it is because the individual is too infirm or chooses not to 
become involved. 

Postscript: The account of the preceding era, 1969 - 1992, was 
written mainly by Dr. Paul Felker. His natural modesty prevented 
him from calling attention to his personal influence and responsi- 
bility for the work done during those twenty-three and one-half 
years. Dr. Felker has served his God and this congregation for 
almost one quarter of the church's history. His loving personalty, 
his sympathetic counsel, his inspiring sermons, his ability to ease 
the burden of bereaved families, and his love for his fellow 
Christians has had a tremendously positive effect on the lives of this 

180 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

congregation. His attention to the details of organization and his 
ability to negotiate reasonable solutions to difficult challenges has 
endeared him to all who have had occasion to work with him. His 
ability to stand for his principles yet hear opposing views has 
earned him the respect of this congregation and of his peers in the 
work of Presbytery. We are deeply indebted to him for his service to 
his Lord and to this congregation and for his invaluable help and 
counsel in the completion of this book. 

The Book Committee 



"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith 
without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) ..." 

Hebrews 10: 23 

We look to the challenge and opportunity of the future. 

The future of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church cannot be 
told with assurance; only the Lord knows for certain what it will be. 
Yet there are certain things that we can forecast for the future. 

Valdese is a very stable community. Over the past thirty years, 
there has been little numerical growth. With the Waldensian 
practice of holding to the land which is owned by the family, there is 
little possibility of great growth. This stability means a lack of 
church growth. Therefore, there is no foreseeable need for addition- 
al buildings or improvements to the church facilities. Over the next 
twenty-five years, it should be a matter of simple maintenance of 
the facilities. 

There are foreseeable changes among the staff. Dr. Felker has 
reached the time of retirement. When he does retire, there will be 
the necessity for choosing a new minister. Following a lengthy 
pastorate such as Dr. Felker's, it is frequently suggested that there 
be a twelve- to eighteen-month interim pastorate. During that 
transitional period, the congregation will evaluate its goals and 
ministries and determine the direction for the future. Certainly, 
whoever is chosen as the minister will have a different style of 
ministry and operation. This means that the new clergy person will 
also influence the direction of the future. 

Once the new minister is secured, it is likely that in addition to a 
Director of Christian Education, the people will see the necessity 
for an Associate Minister to assist with preaching, visitation, 
counseling, and the myriad of other duties the pastor must assume. 

Because there is a great love for music in this congregation, it is 
also predictable that in the future the church will move toward a 
full-time Director of Music. This would enhance the music pro- 
gram, and such a person could assume the leadership of several of 

182 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

the choirs. Additional support staff will also be needed. It is 
currently too difficult for one person to do secretarial work and the 
bookkeeping. It would be well to employ a receptionist/secretary. 
With the variety of programs provided, it may also be necessary to 
hire an additional custodian to assist in maintenance. 

While the aforementioned things will require additional financ- 
ing, so will new programs which may be started. If more mothers are 
working, the church may be led to provide a day care for children, or 
an after school program. With a large percentage of the membership 
over fifty-five years of age, it will certainly necessitate a good senior 
citizen program. In fact, it is hoped that this program can be 
instituted within the next year. 

This church will continue to provide a good ministry of service to 
the community. There are an increasing number of community- 
wide programs asking for good leadership, and members of this 
church have been at the forefront in the past. In all likelihood, there 
will continue to be a great amount of volunteerism from among our 
retirees and others not engaged in public work. It is also hoped that 
we will have an increasing number of men and women who will 
volunteer their service to work at the presbytery level. 

One of the most important things to do in the future is to 
emphasize evangelism and visitation. Unless there are strong 
programs followed in these areas, the church will not even maintain 
the status quo. It is certain, however, that the church will continue 
to be a strong ecumenical leader in the community. It is the driving 
force in the support of ecumenical programs such as Burke United 
Christian Ministries and the Valdese Hospital Chaplaincy Pro- 

One of the dramatic changes that will occur in the church is a 
reduction in the number of people with Waldensian heritage. 
Currently there are only four full-blooded Waldensians in their 
forties. The majority are in their sixties and older. As these people 
pass away over the next twenty-five years, there may be less support 
of the Waldensian Museum and less interest in maintaining 
Waldensian heritage. The leadership of the church will have to work 
to maintain that heritage as an important asset in the future life of 
the church. 

Who holds the future? It is the Triune God. He holds the future in 
His hands. Therefore, let us rejoice. We know that by His great 
mercy He will preserve His church. May He bless this congregation 
in the next one hundred years as He has the first one hundred years. 








The Reverend Doctor Charles Albert Tron 

1893, 1894 

Dr. Tron was born in 1850 in 
Massello, Italy to Jean Jacques 
Tron and Susanne, nee Rostan. Af- 
ter studying at the Faculty of Theol- 
ogy in Florence, Italy, he married 
Florida Galay with whom he had a 
son, Stanley, who died not long after 
becoming a doctor of medicine. 

Dr. Tron's background included 
the following positions: aide of P. 
Geymonat at Florence, Italy (1874); 
pastor at Rodoretto 1876-1879; pas- 
tor at Perrero (1876-1879); and the 
Committee of Evangelization, 
Torino (1880-1889). From 1889-1905, he was in San Germano 
involved with the reconstruction of the temple, the construction of 
the schools for girls of the Chiabrandi, of the Combina and of the 
Cheneviere, and the construction of the Asilo dei Vecchi (1894). 

In May 1893, after much deliberation and preparation, eleven 
families and Dr. Tron set sail on the S.S. Zaandam for America. 
After arriving in Burke County on Monday, May 29, 1893, Dr. Tron 
helped the settlers with many legal and financial matters. He had 
interviews and correspondence with American churches and soci- 
eties interested in opportunities for missionary work in Valdese. He 
also tried to secure a regular pastor for the church, one who could 
take over the responsibilities of the newly formed colony. 

Dr. Tron departed for Italy in July 1893 but kept in touch with the 
colonists and was called on for advice and help. When the Valdese 
Corporation was dissolved in January 1895, there was a debt of 
$1500. Pastor Soulier informed Dr. Tron of the situation, and Dr. 
Tron sent his own personal money to pay the debt. 

Dr. Tron returned to Valdese for brief visits in 1894 and 1922. On 
his last visit in 1922, he arrived in time for the dedication of C. A. 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

Tron Hall in his honor. 

In 1920, Dr. Tron retired after holding pastorates in San Ger- 
mano, Florence and Torre Pellice, Italy. In addition to his pastoral 
duties, he had been a leader in many of the activities of the 
Waldensian Church. He served as its delegate abroad on twenty- 
five occasions. He was for many years Vice -Moderator of the 
Venerable Table. For eight years, he was the Director of U Echo des 
Vallees. He founded many schools and institutions. His greatest 
monument is the Old People's Home of San Germano, Italy, which 
he founded in 1894. 

In 1930, in memory of their son Stanley (1883-1913), Dr. and 
Mrs. Tron gave a new wing of the hospital in Torre Pellice, which 
was dedicated in 1932. 

Dr. Tron's last years were spent at the Home in San Germano, 
Italy, where he contributed his labors and interest in the work of the 
home until his death on June 18, 1934. 

Pastor Enrico Vinay 

Pastor Vinay arrived in July 1893 
to become the first regular pastor of 
the Waldensian colony. He was born 
in 1856 in the Waldensian Valleys. 
Vinay was a man of talent and lead- 
ership. The Waldensian Church of 
Italy sent him to Sicily on mission- 
ary work for a short time; then the 
Venerable Table decided to send 
him to North Carolina to assist the 

Pastor Vinay remained in North 
Carolina for one year, and during 
that time, he assumed full responsi- 
bility for supervising the clearing of fields and building of homes for 
the colonists. Many early settlers recalled the pastor, armed with a 
revolver to keep off wild animals and marauders, directing the 
labors of the immigrants as if they were a gang of contract laborers. 
In October 1893, Pastor Vinay, in addition to his pastoral work 
and other activities, attended the meeting of the Synod of North 
Carolina of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and wrote a long 
article for the Morganton Herald. At the Synod meeting held in 

Pastors of the Wgddensian Presbyterian Church 


Tarboro, he was introduced as a member of the Waldensian Synod, 
and he gave an address in French. 

Pastor Vinay left Valdese for CaUfornia in the spring of 1894. He 
was employed by the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian 
Church in the United States of America as missionary in the Italian 
Mission, San Francisco. For the church year 1894-1895, he served 
nine months there as stated supply and continued in this post until 
his death during the summer of 1896. 

Pastor Barthelemy Soulier 

Pastor Soulier was born on April 
20, 1865, in Pramollo, Italy. He 
studied at the Waldensian Seminary 
and did post-graduate work in Edin- 
burgh, Scotland. He and his bride 
Amelie Vingon (1878-1947) arrived 
in Valdese in June 1894. 

Pastor Soulier was a practical 
man of affairs and intensely in love 
with his mission. He served as a 
public secretary, interpreter and 
justice of the peace. During his years 
as pastor, he contributed his time 
and talents to developing the com- 
munity and to disentangling the financial affairs of the colony. He 
and his wife taught the children and adults to speak English, and he 
made changes in the organization of the colony. Pastor Soulier led 
the colonists in building the church. When he left the colony in 
1900, no debt remained on the church. 

While in Valdese, Pastor and Mrs. Soulier had two sons to die in 
infancy. Both children were buried in the Waldensian Cemetery. 
These deaths and the impaired health of Mrs. Soulier caused the 
pastor to resign his pastorate and return to Italy on September 20, 

On his return to Italy, he became pastor at Rio Marina, Island of 
Elba (1900-1901), Revere, Mantua (1901-1903), Massello 
(1903-1904), Villa Secca (1904-1916), and Villar Pellice 
(1916-1930). After retiring, he lived in Turin from 1930 to 1932 and 
then became director of Asilo Valdese per Vecchi (Home for the 
Aged) in San Germano Chisone from 1935 to 1942. He died in Turin 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

in 1946. Mrs. Soulier died in 1947. Pastor and Mrs. Soulier had two 
other children in addition to the two infant sons who were born in 
Valdese. They were son Dino, born and died in 1902, and a daughter 
Letizia, born in 1903. This daughter, Letizia Soulier Gay (widow) is 
now living in Asilio Valdese in Luserna San Giovanni. When she 
was visited in July 1992 by Catherine Rivoire Cole, she was 
delighted to see someone from Valdese. 

Pastor Henri Garrou 

Pastor Garrou was born August 9, 
1870 in Prali, Italy. He was the son 
of one of the first colonists, Jean 
Garrou (pere), and the brother of 
Jean and Frangois Garrou. Early in 
December 1900, pastor Garrou 
sailed from Italy to become pastor of 
the Waldensian Church in Valdese. 
He arrived in time for the Christmas 

Pastor Garrou found the colony 
in good condition. The houses were 
well built, and most of the land was 
under cultivation. 
It was during Pastor Garrou's pastorate that much of the 
property belonging to the church, including the pastor's farm, the 
quarry and the lots between the railroad and the Morganton 
highway, which had been turned over to the church at the time of 
the dissolution of the Valdese Corporation, was sold. Pastor Garrou, 
while here in America, also helped his brothers, Jean and Frangois, 
in the hosiery mill by serving as adviser and bookkeeper. 

Garrou served as pastor from December 19, 1900 to May 31, 1903 
when he resigned to accept a position at McDonald, Pennsylvania. 
He later returned to Italy and married Adele Gay on January 9, 
1908. He served as pastor of the Waldensian Church of Perrier- 
Maneille until his death on May 6, 1915. 

Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


Pastor Filippo Enrico Ghigo 
1903-1906 and 1916-1917 

Pastor Filippo E. Ghigo became 
the pastor of the Waldensian Pres- 
byterian Church on November 28, 
1903. He was born on December 20, 
1869 in Ghigo, Prali, Italy, the son of 
Jean Isaac Ghigo and Marie Mad- 
eleine, nee Rostan. He completed 
his courses of study at the following 
institutions: the College of Torre 
Pellice, Italy; the Waldensian Theo- 
logical Seminary in Florence, Italy; 
and the Universities of Berlin and 
Leipzig, Germany. Before arriving 
in Valdese, he had served as a missionary in Switzerland and had 
been pastor of churches in Uruguay and Argentina. 

Pastor Ghigo was hampered in his work in Valdese due to ill 
health; however, he was able to carry on the regular program of 
work, and he also devoted much time to the collection of funds for 
the erection of a new school. 

In 1906, Pastor Ghigo resigned his pastoral service to accept a 
position in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In 1915, he became professor of 
Italian at the Theological Seminary in Bloomfield, New Jersey. 

On April 6, 1916, Pastor Ghigo returned to Valdese to serve a 
second pastorate. During this time, he helped raise funds for 
mission work in Italy, the orphanage in Torre Pellice and the 
Waldensian Soldiers' Station in Turin. 

He died on December 16, 1917 in Asheville, North Carolina and 
was buried in the Waldensian Church Cemetery. 

Pastor Ghigo was married to Juliette Louise, nee Rosso, and had 
two children: Anita, who was until her death in 1956, assistant choir 
director and pianist at the Waldensian Presbyterian Church and an 
outstanding French teacher at Valdese High School; and Dr. 
Francis Ghigo, who became professor of Romance languages at 
Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. 

190 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

The Reverend John Pons 
1907-1909 and 1918-1925 

Rev. Pons was born in Massello, 
Italy on November 18, 1877. His 
parents were Barthelemy Pons and 
Marie, nee Pons. He was educated 
at the college of Torre Pellice, the 
Waldensian Seminary of Florence, 
Italy, and the University of Genoa, 
Italy, where he received the degree 
of Bachelor of Divinity. 

Before coming to America, he 
served as pastor of three churches. 
His first church was at Rodoretto, 
and then he spent six months at Rio 
Marina, Elba, and two years at the 
church of La Maddalena, Sardinia. 

Rev. Pons arrived in Valdese on January 21, 1907, and while here 
he met and married Lydia Jacumin, daughter of Jean Jacques 
Jacumin and Virginie, nee Peyronel. Shortly after their marriage on 
October 28, 1909, Rev. and Mrs. Pons left for Scranton, Pennsylva- 
nia where he preached for four months. In 1910, he went to 
Brooklyn, New York to become pastor of the Rockaway Avenue 
Presbyterian Church, and later he moved to Rochester, New York 
to help build a new church there. With his determination and 
aggressiveness. Rev. Pons dedicated himself to the work of evangel- 
ization and persuaded the authorities of the church to erect the first 
Italian Presbyterian Church in Rochester. The work began in 1911. 
In 1918, Rev. Pons returned to Valdese to become again the pastor 
of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church, a position he held until 
1925. At the same time, he served as professor of foreign languages 
at Rutherford College, where he continued his duties for fourteen 

Even after his active pastorate. Rev. Pons served as French 
pastor of the church and conducted monthly services in French for 
the benefit of the older Waldensians. He could preach in English, 
French or Italian, and he also taught Greek and Latin. 

Rev. Pons wrote A History of the Waldenses, which deals with the 
trials and tribulations of the Waldensians from the Middle Ages to 
1848. It first appeared as articles in the Morganton News Herald in 
1937. Then it was compiled into a book and presented to the session 

Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church by Rev. Pons' children as 
part of the 75th anniversary (1893-1968), commemorating the 
arrival of the Waldensians in Valdese. 

Rev. Pons was secretary and treasurer of the Valdese Building 
and Loan Association and held this position until his death. A 
leading Mason, he was a member of the Lovelady Lodge No. 670 and 
was associate patron of the order of the Eastern Star Lovelady No. 
147. He entered the Royal Arch and Commandery and was buried 
with Masonic honors. He was also a member of the Waldensian 
society of Le Phare des Alpes. 

Rev. John Pons and Lydia Jacumin Pons were parents of five 
children: Arnaldo Albert, Edward, Evelyn Marie, Walter, and 
Marguerite Albertine. He died in Valdese, North Carolina on 
November 11, 1944 and was buried in the Waldensian Church 

Pastor Emile Henri Tron 

Pastor Tron was born on June 16, 
1884 in Ciamp-La-Salse, Massello, 
Italy. He was educated at the Col- 
lege of Torre Pellice, the Walden- 
sian Theological Seminary in Italy, 
and in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

He married Laura Vigliano of Ge- 
noa, Italy. They sailed for America 
and arrived December 10, 1913 to 
accept the pastorate of the Walden- 
sian Presbyterian Church. Pastor 
Tron was joyfully received by the 
colonists of Valdese, North Carolina 
due to their having been without a 
regular pastor for four years. Many accomplishments were made 
during his ministry, including the renovations of the church, the 
renewal of the observance of the Waldensian Emancipation of 
February 17, and the adoption of the latest regulations of the 
Mother Church. 

Pastor and Mrs. Tron left Valdese in April 1916 to respond to 
Italy's call to the military service in World War I. Upon his arrival 
there, however, his services were not required in the army. 

Pastor Tron accepted the pastorate of the Waldensian Church of 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

Rodoretto in the Valleys in 1916. Toward the end of the war, he was 
for several months in active service as a chaplain. From 1919 to 
1920, he was director of the Gould Institute in Rome (an orphanage 
and school). Due to ill health, he left the orphanage and spent a year 
in the Valleys recuperating and working as a supply pastor. 

In 1922, Pastor Tron became pastor of the Waldensian Church of 
Luserna San Giovanni in the Valleys. He remained there, except for 
a period when he was sent on a mission to England, until his death 
at age forty-six on January 18, 1931 in San Giovanni, 

Pastor Emile Tron and wife Laura Vigliano had three children 
born in Italy: Lucille (1917), Silvio Alfredo (1919), and Gustavo 
Giovanni (1926), who married Frances Elizabeth Hern of Valdese, 
North Carolina, daughter of Joseph A. Hern, Sr. and Nelle Garrou 
Hern. Gus and Frances Tron are now members of the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church. 

The Reverend Joseph Armand Verreault 


Rev. Verreault came to Valdese 
from New Iberia, Louisiana in 1925. 
He was the first non-Waldensian 
pastor of the Waldensian Presby- 
terian Church. Being bilingual, he 
conducted two services each Sun- 
day, one in French and one in En- 

Rev, Verreault was born March 
28, 1871 at St. Jean Port Joli, St. 
Laurence River, Quebec, Canada. 
He was the son of Pamela Duprey 
and Pamphille G. Verreault, senator 
in the Canadian House of Parlia- 
ment. He was educated at St. Ann College, graduated from Levis 
College and the Theological Department of Laval University, 

During his early years he was an educator in Canada. He came to 
the United States in 1901 and studied at the Moody Bible Institute 
in Chicago, Illinois. 

He was married to Malvina Brunette of Houma, Louisiana. They 
had three children: Joseph Armand, Jr., who married Sarah Teal; 
John Francis, who married Jeanette Garrou; and Jeanne Nellen, 

Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 193 

who married John Laird Jacob. 

Rev. Verreault was a member of the New Orleans Presbytery, and 
from 1910 to 1925, he did extensive work in Home Missions in 
Southern Louisiana among the French people. His home was in 
New Orleans and later in New Iberia, Louisiana. 

He was pastor of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church from 1925 
to 1931. In 1927, his friend, the Rev. J. G. Bruner, pastor of the 
Advent Moravian Church, Winston- Salem, North Carolina, and 
his congregation were invited to join in the August 15 celebration of 
the Glorious Return. The following June the Waldensian Church 
was invited to join the Moravian Church in the Love Feast 
celebration. These joint celebrations continued for several years. 

While Rev. Verreault was pastor, he used to walk several days a 
week to visit his parishioners, since he did not have a car. If the 
visits were not too far from their home, Mrs. Verreault would 
accompany him. 

The Verreaults lived in the second manse (located where the 
museum stands today), which was remodeled in 1927, during their 
stay. A central heating system and indoor plumbing were installed. 
The house was changed from a two-story to a one-story brick 
veneered structure. 

In December 1930, Rev. Verreault resigned his pastorate due to 
declining health. He continued to serve several months as a pulpit 
supply while the church was securing a minister. 

From 1932 to 1936, Rev. and Mrs. Verreault lived in their former 
home in New Iberia, Louisiana. They returned to Valdese in 1936 
and lived here the remainder of their lives. Mrs. Verreault preceded 
her husband in death by four weeks. She died November 19, 1960, 
and Rev. Verreault died December 16, 1960. 

The Reverend James Henley Caligan 

Rev. Caligan was born in Red Springs, North Carolina on 
October 31, 1903, son of Rev. James Alexander Caligan and Eleanor 
Smith Caligan. He attended Davidson College (1923-24) and the 
University of South Carolina (1924-25). He returned to Davidson in 
1925 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1927. He received the 
Bachelor of Divinity degree (1931), the Master of Theology (1949) 
and the Doctor of Theology (1950) from Union Theological Semi- 
nary in Richmond, Virginia. On July 10, 1931, he was ordained by 
Concord Presbytery. 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

Rev. Caligan began his ministry 
as a supply pastor at the Waldensian 
Presbjrterian Church on August 1, 
1931. In May 1932, he was elected to 
remain as the regular pastor and 
continued to serve until May 1, 
1938. Rev. Caligan was the first 
minister of the Valdese church to 
conduct services entirely in English. 
He alternated Sundays with Rev. 
John Pons, who preached two ser- 
vices a month in French. This ar- 
rangement continued for two years, 
and then the French service was 
held once a month to comply with 
the wishes of the older Waldensians of the church. 

On June 9, 1934, Rev. Caligan married Emily Leger, a descendant 
of Jean Leger, historian of the 17th Century who wrote Histoire 
Generate des Eglises Evangeliques des Vallees de Piemont; ou 
Vaudoises in 1669. After James Caligan's resignation in 1938, he 
and Mrs. Caligan spent a year traveling and studying abroad and 
visiting the Waldensian Valleys. In October 1938, he attended and 
addressed the Waldensian Synod in Torre Pellice, Italy as a 
fraternal delegate of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. 

After returning to the United States, Rev. Caligan became a 
supply pastor at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Miami, Florida 
from 1942 to 1948. Then he became temporary pastor at Uleta 
Church from 1955 to 1957 and officially retired in 1970. He died 
January 29, 1972 in Miami, Florida. 

The Reverend Sylvan Stephen Poet 

Rev. Poet was born in Torre Pellice, Italy in 1905. He was 
educated at the College of Torre Pellice. He served eighteen months 
in the mountain artillery of the Italian Army and later was 
secretary to the Italian Consulate in Monsul, Iraq. He was also vice- 
consul until he decided to enter the ministry. 

He came to the United States and received his Bachelor's Degree 
from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in New 
Brunswick, New Jersey and received his Master's Degree from 
Princeton University. He served for a time as pastor in charge of the 

Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


Italian work of the New Utrecht 
Reformed Church in Brooklyn, New 

While in New York, Rev. Poet 
met and married Elizabeth Verdoja 
on January 21, 1936. Their son 
Paul, born August, 1937, is at pre- 
sent on the faculty of Friends Semi- 
nary in New York City as professor 
of history. Shortly after the mar- 
riage, the Poets moved to Chicago 
where Rev. Poet was pastor of the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

In February 1939, the Rev. Poet 
accepted the pastorate of the Waldensian Church in Valdese. While 
serving as pastor, he was appointed fraternal delegate to the 
Waldensian Synod, and in 1940, he represented the Waldensian 
Church at the General Assembly held in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 
He also wrote a short history about the Waldensians: A Waldensian 
Colony in the United States, Valdese, North Carolina. 

During the summer of 1941, Rev. Poet and his wife left Valdese for 
Middletown, New York. He served in a church there, and then at the 
outbreak of World War II, he worked for awhile at the Stock 
Exchange on Wall Street. Rev. Poet and his wife separated and were 
later divorced. His second marriage was in 1951 to Irene Vastine of 
Brownell, Kansas. 

Here is an excerpt from a letter written by Rev. Poet to Catherine 
Dalmas on May 22, 1992. It tells about his life from 1943 to the 
present day. 

When Mussolini fell in 1943 and the Resistance move- 
ment against the Axis Powers began in the subjected 
countries, I sought admission to the OSS, the parent of 
our CIA. I thought that with my knowledge of the Valleys 
and of their languages and dialects, I could act as a liaison 
officer between the Allies and the Partisans. Dr. R.W. 
Anthony, then Secretary of the AWAS had some contact 
in Washington. Though I was a naturalized American, 
and probably more anti-Fascist than most (as were most 
of the Waldenses over here because of their heritage of 
resistance to unlawful authority and for freedom of 

196 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

conscience), I was turned down because Italy was still 
technically at war with the USA. 

For about two years I had no news from the Valleys. 
Then came the news through the Red Cross that both my 
younger brothers had died in the struggle; the youngest 
(Pouluch) as leader of one of the "brigades" of the "Action 
Party" was killed in ambush. 

In 1946, as soon as possible by freighter (all ships were 
used to return the GIs) I went for a visit. I found that the 
house had been partly burned with the attached barn, as 
well as 75 percent of all rural homes in all the Valleys 
during Nazi reprisals; that my older brother as tough as a 
rock, had been badly beaten more than once (he died not 
many years later). 

When I returned, I moved to Colorado, where I found a 
second wife who liked the mountains, though born and 
raised on the Kansas prairie. It was a happy choice. We 
served churches (cooperative parishes and yoked fields) 
in S.E. Missouri, Northern and Southern Kansas and 
Nebraska until retirement in 1971 when we moved here to 
build our own house for retirement. I lost her in 1987 to 
"massive encephalic infection." 

Since then I have been doing what most people my age 
do: griping about the government — local, state and 
national — sometimes with some good reason, for never 
listening to what we told them all along was wrong with 
the country! Words! A fairly common virtue, especially 
with preachers, lawyers and politicians, if not everybody! 

I am not quite as old as Valdese — twelve years short! 
So it is fitting to wish the town and the church at least 
another century of life, if not as "the fastest growing town 
in North Carolina" as it was when I was there! 

Rev. Poet now lives in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico. 

The Reverend Watson Munford Fairley, D.D. 


Dr. Fairley was born in Manchester, New York in 1873. He was a 
graduate of Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina and Union 
Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He was ordained July 
26, 1900 by Fort Worth Presbytery in Texas and served many 

Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


pastorates in Texas and North Car- 
olina. He retired from his pastorate 
in Raeford, North CaroUna on June 
1, 1940 due to ill health. 

Dr. and Mrs. Fairley moved to 
their home in Montreat, North Car- 
olina, and as his health improved, he 
was recommended by officials of 
Concord Presbytery to the Walden- 
sian Presbyterian Church as a tem- 
porary supply pastor. 

Dr. Fairley came to the Walden- 
sian Presbyterian Church in Octo- 
ber 1941, and during his ministry, a 
real growth in membership began. 
Vast plans were made for remodeling the sanctuary. 

The congregation was so impressed with his work and Mrs. 
Fairley's contribution that they decided to keep them as long as his 
good health continued. They remained until 1945. 

Dr. and Mrs. Fairley retired to their home in Montreat, North 
Carolina and remained there until his death on June 6, 1955. He 
was buried in Tarboro, North Carolina. His wife, the former Alice 
Rollwage of Forrest City, Arkansas was at the Presbyterian Home 
in High Point until her death. 

The Reverend Albert Bonner 

McClure, Sr. 


Rev. McClure was born on July 
16, 1905 in Toccoa, Georgia. He was 
graduated from Union Theological 
Seminary, Richmond, Virginia in 
1934. Before coming to Valdese, he 
was pastor of the Lincolnton Pres- 
byterian Church, Lincolnton, North 
Carolina for eight years. 

On October 16, 1945, Rev. Mc- 
Clure was received from the Presby- 
tery of Kings Mountain, North Car- 
olina and was installed as minister 
of the Waldensian Presbyterian 

198 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Church on October 28, 1945. 

During his ministry in Valdese, he placed emphasis on the youth, 
the choir, and the gathering and preservation of items brought by 
the colonists from Italy. 

During the fall of 1949, Rev. McClure received a call to assume 
the superintendency of the Barium Springs Home for Children at 
Barium Springs, North Carolina. He resigned on November 6, 1949 
and preached his last sermon January 8, 1950. 

Rev. McClure remained at Barium Springs until his death on 
October 22, 1972 in Statesville, North Carolina. He was married to 
Mary McGehee. They had three children when they came to 
Valdese: Mary Emma, Albert Bonner, Jr., and Beverly Kate. Their 
fourth child, Emily Sue, was born in Valdese. 

The Reverend Walter Hugh Styles 

The Rev. Styles was born on July 
20, 1917 in Paint Gap, North Caroli- 
na. He was educated at Toccoa, 
Georgia and Columbia Theological 
Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. 

Rev. Styles came to the Walden- 
sian Presbyterian Church in March 
1950 from the Black Mountain 
Presbyterian Church in Black 
Mountain, North Carolina. During 
his pastorate here, the Educational 
Building was erected, and a full- 
time staff person serving as both 
secretary and Director of Christian 
Education was employed. 

On December 14, 1958, after eight and three-fourths years of 
serving the church. Rev. Styles accepted a call to the Faith 
Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida. During his ministry 
in Tallahassee, a new educational building and sanctuary were 
built. More than 1700 members joined the church. Rev. Styles was 
also elected Moderator of the Synod of Florida in 1968. 

In 1975, Rev. Styles left Faith Presbyterian Church and spent the 
last years of his pastorate in small churches. He served two and one- 
half years in Douglas, Georgia and four years in Havana, Florida. 
Rev. Styles retired in 1981. 

Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


In 1985, Rev. and Mrs. Styles moved back to Black Mountain, 
North Carolina where he first began his ministry in 1945. Since his 
retirement, he has been a supply minister for numerous churches. 
He has preached more than four hundred times in thirty-eight 
different churches. 

Rev. Walter Styles married Mertis Brooks from Cumming, 
Georgia. They have two children: Walter Brooks and Frances 
Makemie (Kemie). 

The Reverend James Clyde Plexico, Jr. 

Rev. Plexico was born on July 14, 
1921 in Sharon, South Carolina, son 
of Rev. and Mrs. J. Clyde Plexico, 
Sr. He was educated at King Col- 
lege, Bristol, Tennessee and Ash- 
eville College, Asheville, North Car- 
olina where he earned the Bachelor 
of Science degree in education. He 
attended Columbia Theological 
Seminary, Decatur, Georgia where 
he received the Bachelor of Divinity, 
Master of Divinity and Master of 
Theology degrees. 

Before coming to Valdese, Rev. 
Plexico had served the First Presbyterian Church in Enterprise, 
Alabama (1946); First Presbyterian Church, Dalton, Georgia 
(1948); Seneca Presbyterian Church in Seneca, South Carolina 
(1949-1954); and First Presbyterian Church in Cartersville, Geor- 
gia (1954-1959). 

Rev. Plexico came to the Waldensian Church in Valdese, North 
Carolina on May 6, 1959. During his ten years as pastor, many 
changes occurred. The Cherub, Melody, Junior and French Choirs 
were organized; a new manse was built on North Laurel Street; and 
a Ruth M. Williams Music Scholarship Fund was established. Rev, 
Plexico also organized the Chaplaincy Program at the Valdese 
General Hospital. 

In 1968, Rev. Plexico resigned his position to accept a call to 
Metairie, Louisiana where he remained until 1973. Then he served 
the Deer Creek Presbyterian Church, Cumming, Georgia 
(1974-1977); St. Paul's Presbyterian, Chester, South Carolina 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

(1977-1980), and Presbyterian Home of South Carolina in Sum- 
merville, South Carolina, as Chaplain Administrator (1980-1986). 

Rev. Plexico retired in July 1986. Since then, he has supplied 
twenty-one churches and was interim minister of the Summerton 
Presbyterian Church, Summerton, South Carolina (1987-1988). 
Now Rev. Plexico is a supply minister of Westminster Presbyterian 
Church in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Rev. Plexico is married to Miriam Easter Clark. They have three 
children: Sandra Ruth Salvaggio Walker, James Clark Plexico, and 
Rebecca Dale Scott. 

The Reverend Doctor Paul Henley Felker, Jr. 


Dr. Felker was born on August 1, 
1926 in Kannapolis, North Caroli- 
na, son of Paul Henley Felker, Sr. 
and Connie Estelle Rodgers. He re- 
ceived the Bachelor's degree from 
Davidson College, Davidson, North 
Carolina, the Bachelor of Divinity 
(1954) and Master of Divinity 
(1971) degrees from Columbia 
Theological Seminary in Decatur, 
Georgia. In 1978, he received the 
Doctor of Ministry degree from Mc- 
Cormick Theological Seminary in 
Chicago, Illinois. 
Dr. Felker served pastorates in Filbert Presbyterian Church and 
Beersheba Church in York, South Carolina (1954-1960) and the 
Mulberry Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina 
(1960-1969). Then he came to the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 
on January, 16,1969. His pastorate is the longest in the history of 
this church. 

During the twenty-four years Dr. Felker has spent as pastor of the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church, many changes have been 
wrought in church life. The church is more highly organized with an 
increasing number of people involved in the decision-making of the 
church. The choir program has been strengthened, the Christian 
Education program enhanced, and the youth activities broadened. 
There has been an increased amount of service to the community, 
through financial support of community social agencies and pro- 

Pastors of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 201 

grams. More work of compassion has been done by the Service 
Committee, including the clothing drive, monetary help for the 
needy, and food for the hungry. 

Dr. Felker has led the congregation through three successful 
financial/construction programs. The first was for the construction 
of the present museum in the early part of the 1970s, followed by the 
renovation of the educational buildings in the latter portion of the 
1970's, and finally the campaign to enlarge the sanctuary and 
provide other improvements. With these programs completed and 
the enhancement of the facilities by lovely plantings, the church 
complex stands as one of the most beautiful structures anywhere. 

On four occasions— 1959, 1965, 1979, and 1992, Dr. Felker was a 
commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. 
In August 1970, he attended the Waldensian Synod at Torre Pellice, 
Italy as a fraternal delegate of the Presbyterian Church U.S. 

Dr. Felker has been an active presbyter in each presbytery served 
and has worked on most major committees and chaired many of 
them. They include the following committees: Women's Commit- 
tee, Stewardship and Finance, Christian Education, Presbytery 
Council, Candidates Committee, and Mission Committee. He has 
been a member of the Committee on Ministry for the past seven 
years and served as chairman for three years. 

In the community. Dr. Felker has been a member of the Valdese 
Rotary Club and president of the Old Colony Players. He has also 
served on the Board of Directors of Grandfather Home for children 
in Banner Elk, North Carolina. 

Dr. Felker is married to Carol Jean Price, and they have three 
children: Mark Butler, married to Wendy Lee Donahoe; Alan 
Carlton, married to Lesa Anne Ratliff; and Eric Paul, married to 
Sandra Lynn Day. 


After the arrival of the colonists on May 29, 1893, Pastor Charles 
Albert Tron immediately began work to organize the colonists' land 
transaction, and working with a group of advisers from Morganton, 
the Valdese Corporation was chartered on June 8, 1893. The 
incorporators were Charles Albert Tron, Isaac T Avery, Marvin F. 
Scaife, William C. Ervin and Samuel T Pearson. The corporation 
was empowered to engage in the following enterprises: to buy and 
sell real and personal property; to own, hold, control, improve and 
develop its real estate; to lease or bond mineral interests in lands; to 
conduct any and all mining operations; to conduct and operate 
sawmills and do any and all things necessary for carrying on a 
lumber business; to build any kinds of factories; to act as immigrant 
agents and colonize their lands; to do any or all things necessary to 
promote or conduct the colony; and to borrow money and issue 
coupon bonds or other evidence of indebtedness and secure the 
same by mortgage or deed of trust on any or all its property. The 
duration of the corporation was to be sixty years. The capital stock 
was $25,000 divided into shares of $100 each, with the privilege of 
increasing the stock by an amount not exceeding $5,000. The 
stockholders were not to be individually liable for the debts, 
contracts, or torts. A board of directors was named whose members 
were Charles A. Tron, President; the pastor who should replace Dr. 
Tron, Vice-President; Philippe Richard, Secretary; Samuel T. 
Pearson, Treasurer; Messrs Jaubert Micol, Albert Pons, the Rever- 
end John M. Rose, Jr. and W.C. Ervin. 

A word about the incorporators and advisers would be in order. 
Dr. Tron, of course, was the leader of the settlers. Mr. Scaife has 
been mentioned earlier as the industrialist/benefactor of the set- 
tlers. Mr. William C. Ervin and Isaac T Avery were attorneys in 
Morganton, and Mr. Samuel T Pearson was the cashier of the 
Piedmont Bank in Morganton. The Rev. John M. Rose, Jr. was the 
pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Morganton and served 
as adviser and friend to the settlers for several years during his 
tenure in Morganton. 

The Corporation was set up to purchase the property in order to 
sell to the settlers. Settlers were assigned acreage after mutual 

204 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

agreement as to where they would locate. They were then to redeem 
the bonds to cover the value of their acreage. The Corporation 
would then prepare a deed for the specified acreage, delivering 
ownership free and clear of any mortgage. Although the Corpora- 
tion was drawn up to hold property in common, there was the 
provision for individual ownership as soon as the family could get 
enough money to redeem the bonds sufficient to cover their 
property value. 

It became apparent after a short period of time that the Corpora- 
tion/commune organization would not work. It also became appar- 
ent that the settlers had much more land than they could manage or 
pay for. An approach was made to the Morganton Land and 
Improvement Company to renegotiate the amount of land being 

Dr. Matteo Prochet, Chairman of the Committee of Evangeliza- 
tion of the Waldensian Church, visited in Valdese and Morganton 
during Christmas of 1893. Dr. Prochet was evidently a very 
perceptive man who saw immediately the seriousness of conditions 
in Valdese, He set about to rectify matters. He spoke to the 
Morganton Land and Improvement Company officials about reduc- 
ing the size of the land commitment and thereby reducing some of 
the financial pressures. He also visited in Charlotte and struck an 
agreement with John Meier, the superintendent of a hosiery mill in 
Charlotte, to set up a mill in Valdese using only Waldensian labor. 
In return, the colony would help prepare a building for his factory, 
and, at the end of five years of satisfactory operation, the building 
would be his. The contract was approved by the colony on May 30, 

Negotiations with the officials of the land company had contin- 
ued, and in June 1894, while the Rev. C.A. Tron was making an 
extended visit to Valdese, the acreage in the agreement was reduced 
to 5,000 acres. After the reduction, Dr. Tron calculated the financial 
condition as follows: Owed to Morganton Land and Improvement 
Company $18,000 for land, $1,387.48 for materials, equipment and 
farm animals, for a total debt of $19,387.48. The individual settlers 
had purchased land for which they owed $14,780.49 and had 
accounts at the Corporation Store in the amount of $846.84, making 
a total owed the Corporation by individuals $15,627.33. This left a 
deficit for the Corporation of $3,760.15. However, this only meant 
the debt had been transferred to individual settlers rather than the 
Corporation. The individual families were beginning to experience 

The Valdese Corporation 205 

real difficulties in making ends meet. 

The Rev. Barthelemy Soulier and his bride arrived in Valdese in 
late June 1894 to minister to the settlers. They found the colony in 
dire straits with problems becoming worse as time progressed. The 
Rev. Soulier was a very capable and thoughtful man. He set about to 
solve the problems of the colony and worked at it diligently for the 
next seven years. He probably deserves more credit for the ultimate 
success of the venture than any other single person. 

By November 1894, the conditions in the colony were becoming 
desperate. Mr. Soulier arranged a meeting with the officers of the 
land company and worked out arrangements with them to further 
reduce the obligations of the colony. The proposal provided that: (1) 
The corporation would deliver all its land as well as the sawmill, ox 
teams, and other personal property. (2) The company would then 
sell to each individual the lands which had been assigned by the 
Valdese Corporation, accepting notes at five percent. The prices 
should be those fixed by Dr. Prochet in January, 1894, to which 
should be added a proportionate part of the debt owed by the 
Valdese Corporation. (3) All redeemed bonds held by the colonists 
should be surrendered, the par value of said bonds to be credited on 
the purchase price of the farms. (4) Four large tracts containing 
1,463 acres would be taken back by the land company at the rate of 
$2.50 per acre. The ox teams, wagons, and lumber already sawed 
would be taken by the company at a value to be set by Mr. Soulier 
and the surveyor, Mr. Robert Ervin. (5) The unimproved town lots 
on the north side of the railroad tracks, except those which had 
already been sold, assigned, or built upon, should be conveyed to the 
officers of the Waldensian Church. The burial ground should be 
held perpetually as a colony cemetery. Sites should be selected for a 
church and a school and should be held permanently for those 
purposes. The remainder of the town lots should be held in trust by 
the church for sale with a clause prohibiting the manufacture and 
sale of intoxicating liquors or beverages other than native wines, 
and with such other restrictions as the officers should determine. 
The proceeds of all sales should be applied to the maintenance of 
the church and school. (6) The hosiery mill (built for John Meier) 
should be conveyed to the company at a price of $450. (7) The 
company would continue to operate the sawmill until January 1, 
1896, and would employ as far as possible Waldensians at a rate of 
not less than forty cents a day, (8) The mortgage given by the 
Valdese Corporation to the Piedmont Bank and all outstanding 

206 History of the Waldensian Presb3^erian Church 

bonds should be canceled and the Valdese Corporation dissolved. 
(9) The proposition would be withdrawn unless it was accepted by 
every stockholder and director of the Corporation by January 1, 

On December 24, 1894, thirty-eight stockholders and directors 
agreed to the stipulations, and on January 1, 1895, a deed was 
executed between the Valdese Corporation, the Morganton Land 
and Improvement Company, and the Piedmont Bank by which, on 
consideration of the cancellation of all its outstanding bonds, the 
Corporation conveyed to the Company all of its real estate holdings. 
This deed, signed by the Rev. John M. Rose, Jr., Jean Jacques 
Leger, George P. Erwin (President of the Piedmont Bank) and S.T. 
Pearson, was filed and registered by the Register of Deeds of Burke 
County on March 2, 1895 (Volume A-2 pages 261-266). 

At the time the Valdese Corporation was dissolved, it was found 
that the Corporation owed the Morganton Land and Improvement 
Company $2,000. The Company reduced this to $1,500. Mr. Soulier 
wrote to Dr. C.A. Tron asking for his help in clearing this debt. Dr. 
Tron, a man of means, promptly sent the $1,500 and enabled the 
settlers to clear the Corporation debt. 

This account of the formation and experiences of the Valdese 
Corporation comes from Dr. George B. Watts' book. The Waldenses 
in the New World. 

Thus ended the experiment in corporate/communal living. Each 
individual family was now on its own, although the Christian love 
and concern for others in the church family would always see that 
care was given to people in the church who needed help. 


The Waldensian Presbyterian Church has undergone many 
changes and improvements since its dedication July 4, 1899. 

The first repair or improvement took place in 1914-15. Quoting 
from the church minutes, the congregation voted on July 7, 1914 to 
undertake the following work: 

a) To replace the floor, taking care to leave under it an 
airspace of about two feet and to make vents in the 
walls so that air can circulate under the floor to help 
preserve it. 

b) To stain the ceiling with oak stain. 

c) To stain the benches with crude oil. 

d) To repair and whitewash the exterior of the church. 

e) To adopt a system of gas lighting and to take up a 
collection to cover the cost of installation. (The collec- 
tion was begun on the spot by Mrs. Grant who offered 
$5. Mrs. Grant had come to help educate the children 
very early in the life of the settlement and stayed to 
make her home.) 

f) To heat the church with coal, using the stove the 
church now owns plus another as the session sees fit. 

It was reported to the session on October 13, 1915 that the work 
had been completed, and it was decided to have the church yard 
cleared and ground worked so grass might be sowed in the spring. 

The next major change in the physical plant occurred in 1921-22. 
At a meeting on June 5, 1921, the congregation charged the session 
to resolve the question of heating the church. From these simple 
instructions evolved present day Tron Hall. 

The session in its meeting July 22, 1921 had this statement: 

The Session given the mandate received from the 
Church assembly on June 5, 1921, given the great need for 
a building annexed to the church for the development of 
various church programs, and given also that the only 
means of heating the sanctuary is to install a steam 
heating system and that in order to do that a building is 
absolutely necessary, the Session voted unanimously to 

208 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

have an annex added to the church, 45 feet long and 28 
feet wide, in stone. Begin as soon as possible. 

The construction of this annex caused considerable discussion in 
the church. The addition necessitated the removal of a small room 
attached to the north east corner of the sanctuary and the closing of 
a window in the same corner. The building of the annex provided for 
a basement in the building large enough to install a steam boiler 
fired with coal. This heating system was used for a number of years 
until Pioneer Hall was constructed. There are no figures available 
on cost. 

The next change in the structure of the church occurred in 1927. 
This is a change which no one seems to recall, although many 
people living today were present at that time. When the church 
building was originally constructed, the north end of the church did 
not have the gable end as we now see it. Instead, the gable end of the 
church was the wall that also serves as the north end of the present 
sanctuary and contained a door still in use as the entrance from that 
area of the building. The roof across the end of the church was a 
slanted roof from the wall toward Main Street and from the bell 
tower to the north east corner. The ground level on this end of the 
building was several feet higher than at present. 

The above information is given to help the reader understand the 
changes that were made in 1927. The Rev. P.E. Monnet, a retired 
minister who was active in the church, offered to pay for the 
changes if the congregation would agree to move the entrance from 
the south end of the building to the north end. Mr. A.M. Kistler of 
Morganton also donated $500 to put nine new windows in the 
remodeled north end. The congregation agreed to the proposal, and 
a building committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Frederick 
Meytre, chairman, John Long, Pierre Emmanuel Micol, John 
Guigou and John P. Rostan, Sr. There is no explanation in the 
minutes of the session or of the congregational meeting as to why 
the authorized changes were not carried out. Instead, the north end 
of the building was changed to its present configuration. The yard 
ground level was lowered to its approximate present level. 

A major building program was authorized in 1938, when the 
congregation voted to build what is known as Pioneer Hall. This 
building provided additional Sunday School classrooms, plus a 
pastor's study and a kitchen and fellowship hall on the second floor. 
In addition, the heating system for the entire complex of buildings 
was located in the partial basement. Steam pipes were run under- 

Building and Renovation Programs 209 

ground to provide heat for the sanctuary. The heat was provided by 
two steam boilers fired by coal. These were later converted to oil 
burners. This system provided the heat for the buildings at that 
time as well as for the Educational Building built in 1953-54. The 
oil-fired boilers were used until a major renovation in 1977-78. 

The next major addition to the building complex was approved in 
1952 when authorization for the Educational Building was given. 
This was a three-story yellow brick building connected to Pioneer 
Hall by an arched covered walkway. This building was designed to 
house Sunday School classrooms and the administrative offices of 
the church. It has been in use since January of 1955. It was designed 
on the south end to attach a new sanctuary, but this idea was never 
developed. A tower designed to support a steeple was provided. 

A major refurbishing of the entire complex took place in 1976-78. 
The heating system was converted to heat pumps to provide heat or 
air conditioning for all buildings, new carpets were installed in the 
sanctuary and many improvements were made in the fellowship 
hall. Ceilings in the Educational Building were lowered to accom- 
modate air conditioning ducts. An overall landscape plan was 
adopted, which has been implemented in stages since then. Build- 
ing interiors were painted, and windows were re-caulked and 
repainted. A brick patio was laid in front of the sanctuary. 

In 1990 a project which had been discussed for years was 
approved. The congregation approved the enlarging of the sanctu- 
ary. An additional 144 seats were added to the sanctuary with an 
enlarged narthex and a sound control room and space for a bride's 
room provided over the narthex. A covered walkway was built from 
a porte-cochere on the east side of the building complex to the 
sanctuary. An elevator was installed for Pioneer Hall to provide 
handicapped access. The bell tower base on the south end of the 
Educational Building was removed to roof level and the entire 
building complex was restuccoed to give the appearance of one 
continuous building. The building process was completed in Octo- 
ber of 1991, having taken fifteen months to complete. 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


>~H OS 








THE WALDENSIAN EMBLEM (Of Biblical Inspiration) 

The lighted candle signifies 
"The Word of God." The blue 
field represents "Darkness." 
The seven stars represent the 
"Seven Churches of the Book 
of Revelation." The Latin mot- 
EBRIS means "A Light Shines 
in Darkness," or "The Burning 
Word of God Is Bringing Light 
and Splendor among Men." 
The two branches, one of green 
oak and one of green laurel, 
tied together at the bottom 
with a blue ribbon, complete 
the emblem. 

The green oak means "Hope and Strength or Power." The green 
laurel means "Hope and Glory." Thus we have Hope, Power, and 
the Glory of God. 

In 1640, on the frontispiece of a theological publication, there 
appeared for the first time the Waldensian emblem, which has since 
been used by the Waldensian Church. 

In the Waldensian Presbyterian Church, the tradition of using 
the Waldensian emblem as a reminder of the heritage of this 
congregation remains strong. The emblem is displayed in a stained 
glass window over the entrance to the sanctuary and also in a full- 
length window in the sanctuary, along with emblems of other 
Protestant faiths throughout the world. 

The Waldensian emblem is found over the entrance to the 
Waldensian Museum. Inside the museum on the wall to the left of 
the entrance is placed a unique version of the emblem handcarved 
in walnut by Edward Garrou and donated to the museum on 
February 17, 1974. The window in the center of the west wall of the 
museum has the Waldensian emblem in stained glass at the top, 
above one of the original sanctuary windows. This window was a 

212 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

gift of Dr. Robert Pascal, who, with his sister Olga, worked actively 
for many years in the establishment of the museum. 

Church printed materials frequently use the Waldensian em- 
blem. It is found on church bulletins, in the church newsletter, on 
church stationery, in the church directory, and on printed programs 
for special events. Prominently centered on the church banner is 
the Waldensian Emblem painstakingly created in needlework by 
Mrs. Victor Garrou (Ann Bills). By using the emblem so often, the 
congregation is reminded of its Christian mission to be "a light 
shining in a dark world." 


The traditional dress of the Waldensian women is made of silk, 
wool or cotton of dark material, with a collar edged with white lace. 
The sleeves are long and full with an edging of white lace at the 
wrist. The skirt falls in even folds to the ankles. A shawl, preferably 
of silk or wool, is worn with the dress and is usually in colors of red, 
violet, dark blue, crimson, black or white, with embroidery of gay 
colored flowers, and edged with long fringes. An apron is an integral 
part of the Waldensian dress. It is made of taffeta of changeable 
colors, showing various hues. 

The Waldensian bonnet — "coiffe" in French, "cuffio" in Patois 
and "cuffia" in Italian — is the principal element of the ensemble. It 
is made of starched embroidered lace fabric. It gently frames the 
face. A long white silk ribbon streamer encircles the back part of the 
coiffe and is tied in a bow at the back, then falls along the shoulders. 

The coiffe is an "emblem of purity." It is to be worn only for 
church functions and therefore is not worn at any frivolous affairs, 
such as for dancing. 

In the Waldensian Valleys when a young girl reaches the age of 
thirteen or fourteen, she starts a course in catechism which lasts for 
two to four years. While attending these catechism classes, she 
wears a black or navy coiffe. Then, when she joins the church and 
receives her first communion, she wears the white coiffe for the first 
time. Traditionally, the white coiffe was worn for a young lady's 
wedding. Oftentimes when a woman died, she was dressed in her 
cherished Waldensian attire. 

In Valdese, most women of Waldensian descent have a Walden- 
sian ensemble. It is sometimes worn for the Waldensian celebra- 
tions and for other special occasions. Brides sometimes wear the 
white lace coiffe as their headpiece with a white wedding gown. 

Waldensian Customs and Traditions 213 


Baptism: The service of infant baptism was customarily held in 
the home in the early years of the colony. Waldensian infants were 
usually baptised prior to the age of one year. The service was 
performed by the pastor assisted by an elder in the presence of the 
family of the infant and close relatives, godparents, if any were 
chosen, the pastor's family, members of the session and invited close 
neighbors and friends. After the service, a photograph would be 
taken of the group, and all present would enjoy a sumptuous dinner 
in the home to celebrate the occasion. This was a custom carried 
over from the Waldensian Valleys. Presently, except in rare circum- 
stances to accommodate the family of the infant to be christened, 
baptisms are held in the sanctuary. 

Wedding Customs: Marriage ceremonies in the early years of the 
Waldensian settlement in Valdese were held in the home of the 
bride. Attending the wedding were the immediate families of the 
bride and groom, maternal and paternal grandparents, and often- 
times cousins if space would accommodate them. After the vows 
were exchanged, the wedding party and guests would enjoy a 
memorable dinner of celebration. 

From 1893, the year the Waldensians emigrated from their 
ancestral homes to Valdese, through 1902, there were only seven 
marriages. The first was the marriage of Marguerite Gaydou to 
John Long that occurred in the bride's home on April 29, 1894. 
Twenty-five years later, the elder daughter of that union, Mary 
Long, was married to the Reverend Aurelio Mangione on April 29, 
1919, in the Waldensian Church sanctuary. This was the first 
formal wedding in the church. The Mangionies lived to enjoy their 
sixty-second wedding anniversary. 

Since the first wedding in the church sanctuary, many marriages 
have taken place there. When any occur on the anniversary of the 
first wedding, April 29, the couple is reminded of the historic date. 

Funeral Customs: The Waldensian settlers continued the burial 
customs of their homeland. In Valdese prior to the availability of 
funeral establishments, the bodies of the deceased were readied for 
burial in the homes where death occurred and then were placed in 
wooden caskets made by friends called on to assist. The caskets 
were lined with linens from the home. Funeral services were held in 
the home and attended by the immediate family and all who could 
be present. Then, the casket was placed on a wagon, which was 
pulled by horses to the cemetery, with a cortege following on foot. 

214 History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

Prior to the funeral in the home, it was customary for neighbors to 
assist in all-night vigils until the day of burial. Caskets were draped 
with the black funeral pall that is now on display in the Waldensian 
museum. It is recalled by one family that as late as 1912 when an 
infant daughter died, the family rode in the family wagon with the 
casket, pulled by their grey horse guided by the father. Distance 
from the home to the cemetery, in many cases, was quite an 
undertaking on foot. 

The first funeral held in the sanctuary was in 1917 when Pastor 
Filippo Ghigo died in a sanitarium in Asheville, North Carolina. 
The body could not be taken to the manse due to the illness of one of 
the pastor's children. After the church service. Pastor Ghigo's body 
was transported to the hillside cemetery in a wagon drawn by a team 
of horses. The second funeral service held in the sanctuary was in 
1918 when two deaths occurred at opposite areas of the settlement. 
Relatives, neighbors and friends who lived near each family of the 
deceased gathered in that home for an initial service. Then, the 
procession followed the two wagons to the sanctuary for a combined 

The first motorized funeral hearse was used in 1919 when the 
body of Fanny Tron Berry (Mrs. Cicero Berry), daughter of Pierre 
and Louise Pons Tron, was driven to the sanctuary for the funeral 
service and from there to the Waldensian Church Cemetery. After 
that time, the place for the funeral service became a matter of 
choice. Taken into consideration were the distances, the conditions 
of the roads, the weather, and the means of transportation. 


The anniversaries of two important events in the history of the 
Waldensians have been celebrated for many years in the Walden- 
sian Valleys. The August 15 celebration commemorates the date in 
1689 when an army of Waldensian men successfully fought their 
way back to the Valleys to reclaim their homeland after a three-year 
exile in Switzerland. The Edict of Emancipation of February 17, 
1848 granted the Waldensians equal civil and political rights held 
by other Italians. Remembering these two events gives Waldensians 
on both sides of the Atlantic cause for giving thanks and rejoicing in 
their heritage. 

In Valdese, the Waldensians continued to celebrate Emancipa- 
tion Day, February 17. The celebration gradually took on a more 
religious nature and was held in various locations, including the 

Waldensian Customs and Traditions 215 

meeting house, the Le Phare des Alpes clubhouse, the Rock School 
and, about 1917, the second floor of the newly built Co-operative 

One of the February 17 suppers was prepared by Jacques Henri 
Bounous and Jean Pons (Bienvenue). They prepared veal stew with 
vegetables and potatoes in a large pot. Two young girls, Margaret 
Pascal (Mrs. Peter Meytre) and Zeline Pons, served the meal by 
going around the tables, one carrying the pot and the other dipping 
the food from the pot to the guests' plates. 

After the meal, a few short talks in French or patois on the 
significance of the celebration were given by some of the men. Then, 
Henry Clot played the accordion, while the guests danced the 
courenta and had an enjoyable time, even though the floor was 
unfinished. Mr. Henry Clot of the colony and Mr. J. Gordon Queen 
of Morganton organized a band composed of Waldensian men and 
boys about 1917. Thereafter, for several years the Waldensian 
colonists had a band to play for them at their celebrations. 

The band practiced on Sunday afternoons in "the Pines," across 
the street from the sanctuary on Rodoret Street (where the first 
cemetery had been located). Many gathered there weekly to listen 
to the band and socialize. The band was well known in the area and 
was invited to play on numerous occasions. On November 1, 1924, 
the band had an engagement in Lenoir. As they were returning to 
Valdese, they stopped by the home of Albert Bleynat, one of the 
band members, and played to celebrate the birth of his new baby 
boy born that day. The baby was John A. Bleynat, who grew up to 
make an outstanding contribution to the life and work of the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church. 

At other February 17 celebrations in the Waldensian Valleys and 
in the early years in Valdese, the feast usually consisted of soutisso, 
boiled potatoes and a salad. This menu is still used on numerous 
Waldensian occasions today. In the early days, the soutisso had 
been made at hog-killing time from the recipes brought from their 
homes in the valleys. 

The other celebration was that of the Glorious Return of August 
15. For many years, the Glorious Return was celebrated on the 
Sunday nearest the fifteenth. The families, carrying large picnic 
baskets, would go to a selected farm where they would have a 
worship service in a grassy meadow by a stream or spring. After the 
worship service, the families enjoyed their picnics in family groups. 
The meal usually included homemade bread, wine, grapes, cheese. 

216 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

brus, and baked or fried chicken. Perhaps there would be potato 
salad, made with boiled potatoes, parsley, onions and dressing of 
wine vinegar and olive oil. 

Later, this celebration was held in the sanctuary, and the meal 
was on the church lawn. In the late 1920's, friends from the Advent 
Moravian Church of Winston Salem, North Carolina joined in this 
annual celebration. The Waldensian Church then joined the Mora- 
vian church in the Love Feast Celebration in Winston Salem, This 
practice continued for several years. During and following World II, 
the picnics were discontinued. In recent years, the Glorious Return 
has been celebrated with a church service and a festival. 


In the early years in Valdese, the colonists' food was much like 
what they ate in the Waldensian Valleys. At the evening meal, soup 
was usually the main dish, perhaps with some bread and cheese. In 
season, the soup was made of mashed turnips and potatoes and 
milk. At other times fava beans, or lentils, boiled in water, were 
used. Carrots, celery, and potatoes, with an onion sauteed in butter, 
were added to the soup. 

Another dish was the cornmeal mush, polenta, usually boiled in a 
cast-iron pot to a thicker consistency than mush. The polenta was 
eaten with a bowl of milk or tomato sauce. The left-over polenta was 
sliced and fried the next morning for breakfast and sometimes 
eaten with cheese. 

For a covered dish on special occasions, "la souppa," was made. 
Bread sticks were broken and placed in a shallow pan. Broth 
(chicken or beef) was poured over the bread sticks. Specks of butter 
were put on top of the sticks, which were then sprinkled with 
parmesan cheese and cinnamon. The dish was then baked in the 
oven until a crust formed on top. \ 

The usual Sunday meal was a chicken baked with potatoes and 
onions and served with a green salad. 

Another traditional recipe brought from the Valleys and served 
for special meals was "cagliettas." These contained a mixture of 
bread sticks, eggs, and cheese, wrapped in a cabbage leaf or grape 
leaf and boiled in broth. At times, different kinds of meat were 
added to the stuffing. 

Soutisso was always made at hog- killing time and is still a 
favorite sausage. It was made with fresh ground lean pork, seasoned 
to taste with plenty of pepper and garlic, then stuffed in casings. 

Waldensian Customs and Traditions 217 

Moustardella was another sausage. It was made by using the blood 
of the freshly killed hog, the liver, the head meat, cracklings and 
various seasonings mixed together and stuffed in casings. 

Bread was one of the staples of the Waldensian's diet. It was made 
with flour, water, salt, and yeast, which was sometimes a starter 
similar to that used today in sourdough bread. After the dough had 
risen for the second time, it was ready to be placed in pans and 
baked in the outdoor oven. Another method was to let it rise on 
floured boards then transfer it to the oven with a wooden peel. 
Before baking the bread, the oven was heated to the correct 
temperature, which was about 400 degrees F. Then, the oven floor 
was cleaned of coals and ashes before the bread was placed in it. The 
bread was baked until it was crusty. 

In the Waldensian Valleys of Italy, the outdoor oven was built in 
the center of the village. Each family had a certain day to bake their 
bread. The oven was built by the men of field rock and mud and was 
shaped like a beehive. The outside top was covered with sand to 
retain the heat. The floor of the oven was constructed of slabs of 
stone, and the entire oven was covered by a small shed. When the 
settlers arrived in Valdese, one of their first tasks was to build a 
community oven. Later, each district and some families built their 
own ovens. 

Desserts were custards or fruits, fresh, canned or dried, and 
always served with cheese and wine. Apples were wrapped in left- 
over dough from the bread making and baked in the outdoor oven. 
Brus was a home-made cheese similar to cottage cheese. 


The colonists who settled Valdese brought their Waldensian 
dialect, or "patois," with them from the Waldensian Valleys. There 
were some differences in the language used in the upper Ger- 
manasca Valley from that in the lower Pellice Valley, and there were 
representatives of both regions among the Valdese settlers. The 
differences were minimal, however, and the people communicated 

The Waldensian dialect has often been described as part French 
and part Italian, but in origin it belongs to neither language. 
Research has identified the Waldensian dialects as a variety of 
Occitan, a family of dialects once spoken across the south of France 
and in northern Italy. These dialects were derived from Provencal, 
once the standard language of the region. 

218 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

In the Waldensian Valleys in the late 1800's, both French and 
Italian were taught in the schools. French was used for church 
services. The patois was the conversational language spoken in the 
home and with neighbors and friends. In Valdese, the same pattern 
of language use continued in the home and church, with English 
added to the school program. 

In the first thirty years of the colony, a few parents spoke French 
in the home, for they believed that knowing French would be of 
educational benefit to their children. Some others insisted on using 
only English so that their children would be better prepared for the 
public schools and for life in the United States. The majority, 
however, spoke patois in the home and neighborhood. Many of the 
children in the Waldensian neighborhoods spoke no English until 
they started to school. After that, the children learned English 
quickly and soon were speaking English among themselves. Often, 
children spoke patois with parents and grandparents but only 
English with brothers and sisters. In large families, sometimes the 
younger children understood patois but did not learn to speak it. 
For the majority of the generation born in the Waldensian Valleys, 
except for those who came at a very young age, the Waldensian 
patois continued to be their primary language for the remainder of 
their lives. Most of them, however, learned enough English to be 
able to manage their affairs without assistance. 

In the past twenty years, there has been a renewed interest in 
Waldensian heritage, as evidenced by the erection of the Walden- 
sian Museum, the Waldensian Festival held in August, and the 
group tours to the Waldensian Valleys. Along with this interest 
came efforts to revive the use of patois. In 1978 and 1979, Ernest 
Jahier capably taught the rudiments of patois to two large classes of 
enthusiastic students. 

In spite of this effort, at the present time, very few Waldensians 
under the age of sixty can converse in patois. Many of the younger 
people have learned a few phrases which they toss out at Walden- 
sian social gatherings. Even among those who are still fluent in 
patois, there is little use of the language, except for a greeting 
exchanged from time to time. The phrases heard most often are 
"Cum la vai lo?" (How are you?) and "Erveise" (Goodbye). Not 
more than two or three families of older Waldensians still use patois 
on an everyday basis. A few families make an effort to converse in 
patois but revert back to English when expression becomes diffi- 
cult. On visits to the Waldensian Valleys, fluency in patois has been 

Waldensian Customs and Traditions 219 

most helpful in conversing with relatives and friends there. 

As the older generation passes on, there is no doubt that the 
Waldensian patois will disappear from Valdese. When that time 
comes, future descendants may be helped to recreate the sounds and 
vocabulary of the language by two studies completed in recent 
years. In 1980, Dr. Francis Ghigo, son of Pastor Filippo Ghigo, 
published The Provenqal Speech of the Waldensian Colonists of 
Valdese, North Carolina. Cathy R. Pons presented Language Death 
Among Waldensians of Valdese, North Carolina as her doctoral 
study at Indiana University in 1990. Dr. Pons is the great- 
granddaughter of Jean Jacques and Madeline Tron Pons, who were 
in the November 1893 group of colonists. 


The Waldensians who came to Valdese in the first groups were all 
small farmers, and they came with the expectation of continuing 
this line of work. They did not realize the problems they would 
encounter with rocky land and shallow topsoil. In spite of the 
problems, some of the settlers were very successful in farming after 
they learned how to live with the climate and poor soil. 

The most successful farmers of Valdese engaged in dairying and 
small grain farming. Several were also successful in raising large 
numbers of chickens for laying hens. Having come from an area 
where a quarter acre of land in one piece was considered a large 
piece of land, to an area where some fields measured ten to twenty 
acres or more, the people had to change their methods and 
expectations drastically. Their experience in small-scale dairying in 
Italy helped them set up and operate their small dairies. The 
community soon became dependent on the Henry Martinat, Fred 
Peyronel, John Henry Pascal, Mrs. Auguste Pascal (Henrietta 
Martinat), Emanuel Micol, and Albert Tron dairies for their milk 
and butter. In those days, raw milk was sold and delivered to the 
doorstep. Each of the dairymen had his own method of delivery. Mr. 
Emanuel Micol was known for his cheerful whistling as he made his 
rounds delivering milk and butter in his Ford truck. Mr. Fred 
Peyronel was recognized by his early model station wagon, which he 
used as a delivery vehicle. Some children carried milk in a denim, 
double-sectioned school bag carried over the shoulder and delivered 
it on their way to school. 

Everyone who owned a plot of ground planted grapevines to 
provide grapes for wine making. The alpine region the Waldensians 

220 History of the Waldensian Presbji^erian Church 

came from was famous for its grape culture and wine making. The 
climate of Valdese, although not as suited to grape culture as the 
Valleys, nevertheless produced some good grapes. A few years after 
the colonists came to Valdese, there were numerous young vine- 
yards established — some quite large. Over the years Valdese earned 
a reputation for the fine wines produced here. Almost every family 
made some wine. 

Harvest time for all farm crops is a good time, but the grape 
harvest was the best. The work of the grape harvest is not as hard 
and is cleaner than grain harvesting. Also the girls and boys both 
worked in the grape harvest, which naturally made it more interest- 
ing. Bunches of grapes were cut from the vine and placed in baskets 
for transporting to the cellar, where the wine making began. The 
grapes were crushed and placed in large vats for fermentation. 
Contrary to popular belief, they were not mashed by stamping on 
them with the feet but with crushers made of four-by-four pieces of 
wood with handles attached for ease of handling. The wine making 
process was a long, drawn-out affair with the pouring of the crushed 
grapes in the vats only the first step. Several weeks were required to 
go through the fermentation and settling process, with regular 
attention paid to the vat and its contents to prevent the spoiling of 
the wine. Proper care was required to avoid turning the product into 
vinegar. When the process was completed, the drawing-off of the 
wine took place. It was withdrawn through a filter made of matted 
straw, which had been placed in the vat at the beginning of the 
process. The new wine was placed into wooden barrels for the aging 
process. The length of the aging process depended upon the thirst of 
the owner and his friends and neighbors. 

As in all farming communities, much of the work was accom- 
plished through exchanged labor. The farmers helped one another 
with planting and harvesting when additional help was required. 
Some of the larger farms would employ a farm hand, who usually 
lived on the premises and received his room and board in addition to 
a low wage. Some of these relationships endured for years, and the 
farm hand was considered almost a family member. A black 
gentleman named Alphonzo Reece, who worked for the Barthelemy 
Bounous family, lived in a room in the granary. Mr. Bounous did not 
speak English, so Mr. Reece learned to speak patois fluently. 


Active social life and fun times were quite limited due to the 

Waldensian Customs and Traditions 221 

hardships endured in the early years by the Waldensian settlers in 
the New World. Nonetheless, the welfare of the children and of the 
young adults was of ever-present concern and interest, and despite 
all obstacles, whenever there were children and young adults, there 
were fun times. In overcoming the hardships, much gratitude is due 
to the early missionary teachers in the 1890's and early 1900's. 
Time, money, reading materials, and recreational items for games 
were furnished by these teachers. Some of the many donated 
materials remembered were baseballs, bats, gloves for the boys, and 
ropes for skipping games for the girls. 

As the children grew into adulthood and melded with the natives 
of the community, on many Saturday nights there were "box 
suppers," organized to raise funds for school projects. These "box 
suppers" required much originality on the part of the young ladies 
to make attractive boxes from shoe boxes or whatever box was 
available of reasonable size, lavishly camouflaged with various 
colors of crepe paper and ribbon. Each box was filled with home- 
made goodies and auctioned off with the highest bidder obtaining 
the box. Prizes were given for the most attractive box. The young 
swains would attempt to bid for the box of their favorite girlfriend, 
if they could guess which was hers, and, if successful, the box supper 
would be shared with her. In addition, in the summer on Saturday 
evenings or Sunday afternoons, there would be picnic outings with 
the delightful treat of homemade ice cream, handcranked right on 
the spot. 

Sunday afternoons were times for neighborly, social get-togeth- 
ers. There was visiting by the older members of households while 
children played in the yards or convenient pastures and meadows. 
About four o'clock, all would gather for "tea time" at a table laden 
with kitchen delights. Nostalgia for those afternoons runs rife for 
many who recall dining tables laden with refreshing foods, such as 
homemade pies, layer cakes amply filled and frosted, homebaked 
breads, pound-size molds of butter, pitchers of whole milk for the 
children, and always, the steeped hot tea. These tea-time specials 
were not limited to Sundays but were a daily practice in most 
households and provided a work-break and "snack" time after 
arduous labor in the fields and vineyards. After these "breaks," the 
menfolk would continue with their labor, while the women and 
children would busy themselves with the closing chores of the late 
afternoon, such as preparing the evening meal, feeding the domestic 
animals and fowl, getting in stove wood, drawing water from the 


History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

well or carrying it from a nearby spring, and preparing the kerosene 
lamps. The children of the household played a vital role in 
performing the many domestic tasks. 

Hiking to areas of interest on Sundays and holidays was also a 
most enjoyable pastime. McGalliard Falls was the "community 
center" with much activity on special celebration days, Sunday 
School outings, and oftentimes the fifteenth of August celebration. 
These fun times at McGalliard Falls in the summer were spent 
learning to swim and swimming in the pool formed at the bottom of 
the falls. Dressing rooms as such were nonexistent, so girls dressed 
in homemade bathing suits of cotton fabric in the privacy of Mr. 
Meytre's nearby grist mill. The boys sought privacy for changing 
clothes on the opposite side of the pool beneath an overhanging 
rock. In addition to McGalliard Falls as a place for swimming, 
families who had good water sources would permit damming them 
to be used for outdoor baths and early swim lessons. Later, 
entrepreneurs built a public swimming pool on the east side of town 
that was equipped with a real diving board. 

Lack of manufactured play equipment did not prevent the 
children from having fun, for they made their own toys. Mothers 
were kept busy mending clothes and keeping a supply of baseballs 

McGalliard falls 

Scene of many social events in the early 1900's 

Waldensian Customs and Traditions 223 

on hand that were made by ravehng old knit socks to form a ball 
from the threads, or by using strips of worn fabric, and sewing the 
ends securely so the balls would not fall apart. The bats were made 
from any board available. 

As time went by, many changes took place, and before the advent 
of the radio and the car came the so-called "talking machine," or 
Victrola. Lucky was the family who could afford such an item. Many 
young people would gather in that home at tea time and listen to the 
current recordings, such as the popular World War I songs "KKK 
Katy," "Over There," "Keep the Home Fires Burning," and the 
ever-sad farewell songs. Although the "courenta" is the traditional 
folk dance of the Waldensians, many of the young were eager to do 
other dances made so popular by Vernon and Irene Castle, such as 
the waltz, the fox trot and later the Charleston. 

In addition to the hikes to McGalliard Falls, the 1920's brought 
another hiking destination — the top of Mineral Springs Mountain, 
where the Crouch family had built a hotel. This was a nice hike 
during the fall and winter months, as Mr. and Mrs. Crouch would 
have a fire roaring in the large fireplace of the public hall, where one 
could get warm before hiking back the three miles to Valdese. 

At the end of the Sunday outings, whether hiking or visiting, the 
young people would attend church for evening vespers. Sunday 
School groups would meet at five o'clock for play and worship. 

When cars became available for a few families, young people, as 
well as adults, would motor by way of Morganton to Clearwater 
Beach and Brown Mountain Beach. Many happy hours were spent 
at these beaches fed by mountain streams. These two popular places 
of recreation offered swimming, hiking up the creek, and picnics, 
which were also enjoyed by adults of the church. 

Much can be said for the fun times of the "good ole days!" 


One of the customs the early Waldensians of Valdese brought to 
this country was the playing of "boccie." The game of boccie dates 
as far back as 5200 B.C. in Egypt. It was a popular game then and 
was carried to Greece by early Greek armies, then adopted by 
conquering Roman armies and taken to their homeland. During the 
fourteenth century, Charles IV banned the game because his 
soldiers became so absorbed in the matches he felt it hampered their 
fighting ability. He wanted the soldiers to concentrate solely on 
making war. 

224 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

In present times, boccie is played throughout the world, under 
different names and especially in larger cities. In northern Italy, 
around Turin, near the ancestral homes of the Waldensians, it is an 
extremely popular pastime. 

The game is played by having one of the team captains roll the 
small ball or "boucin" out on the court. The team members then see 
who can place their boccia closest to earn the point. Knocking the 
other team's boccia out of the match is permitted under certain 

When the Town of Valdese was first settled, a court was laid out 
where the present dry cleaning and laundromat establishment is 
located across Rodoret Street from the church. There was a grove of 
large pine trees, and the court was designed to take advantage of the 

About 1927-28, Le Phare des Alpes bought the building presently 
used as a clubhouse and built courts adjacent to the building. At a 
later date, two courts were constructed under a shed at the rear of 
the property so that the game could be enjoyed during inclement 

For many years, the game was played on Wednesday afternoons, 
by those who were so lucky as to have free time on Wednesday, and 
on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The game was taken seriously 
by the contenders, and voices were sometimes raised in disagree- 
ment over the measurement and placement of the boccie. One man 
would oftentimes serve as the official measurer to keep down 
dissension. His word would be accepted by the contending team 

In recent years, the game has attracted some followers in North 
Carolina. There was a tournament held at Nags Head in 1992, and 
there has been a tournament for several years at a festival in 
Durham. Here in Valdese, there has been some renewed interest due 
to the exposure at the outdoor drama From This Day Forward. The 
tournament conducted on church grounds at the August Festival 
always attracts a number of participants. 


Getting together on Sunday evenings to dance the Waldensian 
folk dance, the "courenta," was the main social activity of the young 
people in the Waldensian Valleys. They danced in someone's home 
or barn to the accompaniment of a fiddle or an accordion. Through 
love of the lively dance, many of the young men and women became 

Waldensian Customs and Traditions 225 

graceful, skillful dancers. 

Once the colony in Valdese was established and there was time for 
occasional social activity and musical accompaniment could be 
secured, those who had learned the courenta in their youth still 
loved to dance. The main occasion for dancing was the February 17 
celebration. About 1918, the celebrations were held on the top floor 
of the Valdese Cooperative Store, where dinner was served and 
music and dancing followed. A community band, made up of some 
of the Waldensian men, played for the dancers. A photograph of this 
band hangs in the museum. 

In 1925, Francis Perrou and Albert Garrou, Sr. purchased an 
accordion for James Henry Pascal, who had learned to play the 
instrument as a young man in the Valleys. He began playing for the 
dancers on February 17 and on other occasions. For many years, the 
courenta continued to be a part of the February 17 celebrations. The 
older Waldensians still enjoyed showing their skill in dancing, and 
while a few groups of young people were taught the dance, they 
never quite equaled the older folks. 

The most noteworthy of the young courenta teams was organized 
in 1956 under the direction of Mrs. George Grill (Elfie Bounous) 
and Peter Meytre. These dancers, accompanied by James H. Pascal 
on the accordion, performed many times and won awards at folk 
dance festivals in Asheville, North Carolina and Virginia Beach, 
Virginia from 1956 to 1958. 

Sometime in the early 1970's, about the same time that James H. 
Pascal was no longer able to play the accordion and the few 
remaining older dancers were no longer able to dance, the courenta 
stopped being a part of the February 17 celebrations. A modified 
version of the dance has survived in the outdoor drama From This 
Day Forward. 

Some of the older Waldensians who are well remembered for their 
dancing skills were Mr. & Mrs. Henry Curville, Philip Perrou, Peter 
Meytre, Mr. & Mrs. Aldo Martinat, Antoine Grill, Antoine Rostan, 
Mr. & Mrs. J.P Rostan, Sr., Madeline Grill, Herman Grill, Mrs. Joe 
Broverio (Helen Grill), Mrs. Philip Bounous (Elda Gaydou), Mrs. 
Emile Squillario (Madeline Rostan), Mrs. Jack Bounous (Ida 
Pascal), Mrs. Auguste Pascal (Henriette Martinat), Laurent Ri- 
voire, Mrs. James Henry Pascal (Marie Ferrier) and Daniel 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Dancing the Courenta 
Peter Meytre (1894-1961) and Elda Gaydou Bounous 
(1892-1971). Courenta is enjoyed by participants on occasions of 
historical Waldensian Celebrations. 



The early days of the church were times when people in distress 
from sickness or death were dependent entirely on their families 
and the church for help. As a result of this need, two organizations 
were formed which were not part of the Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church but did an admirable job of helping meet the needs of the 
membership. These two organizations were Le Phare des Alpes and 
Mont Viso Insurance Company. 

In 1909, some of the men of the community saw an opportunity 
for service to their fellow man, as well as improving their own lot in 
times of need. The group formed, on May 8, 1909, Le Phare des 
Alpes (Lighthouse of the Alps). This was a mutual aid society 
supported by modest dues from the membership and entitling 
members to medical care paid by the society. The founding mem- 
bers of the group were Daniel Bounous, St., Jean Pons (Bienvenue, 
son of Albert), Antoine Grill, Henri Martinat (Pineburr), Frangois 
Garrou, Albert Pons, John Louis Garrou, Jean Henri Pascal 
(Bienvenue), and Auguste Pascal. At organizational meetings on 
May 9 and May 15, rules of organization were drawn up. 

Conditions of membership were that a man be between the ages 
of 18 and 60 years, that he be Waldensian and be approved by two- 
thirds of the voting membership. The applicant must be a resident 
of Valdese or known to the people of the community and be of good 
character. Some of the older members recall the strict lecture they 
received as part of their reception as new members regarding the 
standards of conduct which the society expected of its members. 

The original membership fees were $1 as an entry fee and dues of 
$.50 per quarter. In return, the society promised to pay medical 
expenses, including doctor, medicines and hospitalization to a 
maximum of $50. This $50 probably covered most any illness. The 
members also promised to personally help in the event of sickness 
or death in a member's family. 

The organization contracted with Dr. C.E. Ross to be the official 
physician of the group. Burke Drug Company was to furnish 
medicine at a ten percent discount. Since Dr. Ross and Burke Drug 

228 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Company were located in Morganton, special arrangements were 
worked out with the superintendent of the Asheville Division of 
Southern Railroad to provide for trains #34 and #36 to stop in 
Valdese when necessary for Dr. Ross to visit patients. Members 
were permitted to use a physician of their choice as long as the fee 
was the same as authorized to Dr. Ross. Second opinions were 
encouraged before submitting to surgery or in the case of grave 
illness. The society would meet and authorize the additional 
expense of a second opinion. 

The society also provided help in the event of a death of a 
member. From $15 to $18 was authorized for the purchase of a 
coffin. That was evidently the only expense associated with a 
funeral at that time. In this connection, an entry of November 9, 
1915 is of interest. A payment of $30 was made to the widow of the 
Rev. Henri Garrou, a former pastor who had joined the society and 
had later returned to Italy where he subsequently died. The $30 
payment was for two physicians who treated Mr. Garrou for 
appendicitis and peritonitis and also for the cost of a coffin. 

The society was of considerable help to sick members during the 
early days. It was also very attentive to the need of families not 
covered under the program. For many years, the men of the 
L.P.D.A. dug the graves needed for any member of the congregation. 
They left their own work and spent the day digging the grave in the 
hard rock of the cemetery. With the advent of funeral homes and 
modern services for funerals, this practice was discontinued. 

Le Phare des Alpes continues until this date and is a thriving 
organization at present. The value of the insurance is of no 
consequence, but the society continues as a social organization 
which meets four times yearly with additional social functions. 

The other successful attempt to provide for the unexpected was 
the formation of Mont Viso Insurance Company. Mont Viso was 
established in 1915 to provide fire insurance for the property of the 
settlers. Although there was no official connection between Le 
Phare des Alpes and Mont Viso, the same leadership started both 

During the very early days of the settlement, the Valdese Corpo- 
ration had insured the homes of the settlers. There is no indication 
of how many homes may have been insured between 1894 and 1915. 

Mont Viso was founded on July 1, 1915. A second meeting was 
held on December 27, 1915 when thirty-three home owners signed 
up for property insurance. The total value of the property insured 

Early Organizations 


was $27,575. The insurance took effect January 1, 1916. The 
average insured value of the homes was $835.60. 

There were three categories of buildings listed under Mont Viso 
Insurance programs. Category one was for stone or brick buildings 
with a metal roof. This category carried a rate of $2 per thousand. 
Category two was for buildings of stone or brick with wooden 
shingle roofs or wooden buildings with metal roofs and carried a 
rate of $2.50 per thousand. Category three buildings were built of 
wood with wooden shingle roofs and carried a rate of $3 per 
thousand dollars of coverage. 

It is believed Mont Viso conducted business until the 1930's. It 
was another instance of hard-working, resourceful people providing 
for themselves, and this company did provide a much needed 
service in its time. 

Le Phare des Alpes Clubhouse 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 







The early residents of the Valdese colony were highly organized in 
some ways and much less organized in other ways. The small group 
put a great deal of effort into their worship but were not formally 
organized as a church when they first arrived judging from the 
evidence we have. The evolvement into an organized church was a 
long and sometimes tedious process. Thus, there never appeared a 
list of "Charter Members," such as we would make today, in the 
church records. We assume the original group over fifteen years of 
age were probably all members of one of the churches in Italy and 
automatically considered themselves members of the church in 
Valdese. We would, therefore, assume the following would be 
considered as "Charter Members" of the local church. 

Jean Giraud, age 34. 

Jean Guigou, 41, and his wife Catherine, nee Guigou, age 


The Guigou children not considered old enough for 

church membership were Louis Philippe 10, Etienne 7, 

Alexis 5, and Naomi 3. 

Jaubert Micol, 40, and his wife Jeanne, nee Tron, age 38. 
Their children were Jean, 15, Marguerite, 12, Emmanuel, 
7, and Victor, 2. Although Jean was 15, he had not joined a 
church before coming to Valdese. He joined the church 
here at a later date. 

Albert Pons, 35. 

Frangois Pons, 24. 

Jean Henri Pons, 29. 

Jean Refour, 42, and his son Jean, 15, who was probably 
already a member in Italy. 

Philippe Richard, 33, and his wife Marianna Louise, nee 

Ribet, age 38. 

Their sons were Philippe, 9, and Etienne, 4. 

Francois Tron, Jr., 18, and his wife Marguerite, nee 


History of the Waldensian Presbyteriein Church 

Garrou, 31. 

Jacques Henri Tron, 44. 

Pierre Tron, 39, and his wife Louise, nee Pons, 34. 
Their children were Albert, 5, and Madeleine, 3. 

At a congregational meeting on Sunday, May 10, 1896 the 
following decision was made: "To consider as voting members every 
male Church member over 21 years old who has contributed 
according to his means to the work of the Church and who has 
notified the Session of his desire to be a voting member." It appears 
that prior to this time only men who had purchased property were 
considered voters. This, of course, included all the heads of house- 
hold in the colony. 

The members designated as voting members in 1896 were as 

Date of Enrollment 
September 27, 1896 

September 29, 1896 

October 4, 1896 

October 5, 1896 
October 7, 1896 

October 8, 1896 
October 11, 1896 

Antoine Martinat 
Jean Garrou, Sr. 
Henri Frangois Long 
Romeo Tagliabue 
Jean Jacques Leger 
Albert Pons 
Samuel Pons 
Henri Perrou 
Jean Refour, Sr. 
Jean Jacques Pons 
Pierre Emmanuel Micol 
Jaubert Micol 
Jean Jacques Barus 
Jean Daniel Mourglia 
Henri Peyronel 
Jean Jacques Jacumin 
Philippe Pascal 
Frangois Tron, Jr. 
Jean Philippe Pons 
Jean Garrou, Jr. 
Jacques Henri Long 
Antoine Grill 
Francois Tron, Sr. 
Ippolite Salvageot 
Philippe Perrou 
Jean Henri Pascal (Jean) 

Church Leaders 


December 1896 

J. Prochet 
Albert Beux 
Pierre Tron 
Henri Vinay 
Jean Long 
Francois Barus 
Jean Guigou 
Jean Pierre Peyronel 
Francois Balmas 
Henri Grill 
Barthelemy Soulier 
Jean Thomas Guigou 
Jean Henri Tron 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 



Rev. Doctor Charles Albert Tron 1893 

Rev. Enrico Vinay 1893- 

Rev. Barthelemy Soulier 1894- 

Rev. Henri Garrou 1900- 
Rev. Filippo Ghigo 1903-1906 1916- 
Rev. John Pons 1907-1909 1918- 

Rev. Emile Henri Tron 1913- 

Rev. Joseph Armand Verreault 1925- 

Rev. James H. Caligan 1931- 

Rev. Sylvan S. Poet 1939- 

Rev. Watson Munford Fairley D.D. (Stated Supply) 1941- 

Rev. Albert Bonner McClure, Sr. 1945- 

Rev. Walter H. Styles 1950- 

Rev. George E. Staples (Stated Supply) 1958- 

Rev. J. Clyde Plexico, Jr. 1959- 

Rev. Doctor Paul Henley Felker, Jr. 1969- 

Associate Minister 

Rev. John C. Parse 

Assistant Minister 

Rev. Donn Wilson Wright 
Rev. Ford F. G'Segner 

Director of Christian Education 

Ms. Mary Ruth Marshall 1954-1956 

Ms. Yvonne Raftelis 1958-1959 

Ms. Shirley Gilliam 1960-1963 

Rev. J. Clyde Jones 1964-1964 

Rev. Donn Wilson Wright 1965-1967 

Ms. Cathy Newton 1974-1978 

Mr. Steven Lee Mowery 1978-1980 

Mr. James W Kirkpatrick 1988-1992 

Director of Music 

Mrs. George W. Williams, Jr. (Ruth McQuiston) 1935-1971 

Mr. Steven Lee Mowery 1971-1980 

Mr. John Eric Mode 1980- 


Mrs. George W. Williams, Jr. (Ruth McQuiston) 1935-1971 

Mr. John Bridges 1971-1972 

Mr. James Benton Brinkley, Sr. 1972-1975 

Mrs. Philip Steve Stewart (Carol Corriher) 1976-1981 
Mrs. Fern Farris Abernethy (Mrs. James B. Brinkley, Sr.) 1981-1990 

Mrs. David E. Smith (Rhonda Brush) 1991- 




Church Leaders 235 

Business Manager 

Mr. Roscoe Lee Pyatt 1965-1966 


Mrs. Joe A. Hern (Ann Long) (Part-time) 1959-1962 

Mrs. Daniel B. Bounous (Hazel Coley) (Part-time) 1962-1974 

Mrs. K.P. Floyd (Dianne Smith) 1974-1987 

Mrs. Carl Dean (Bess Baptist) 1987-1989 

Mrs. Kevin Duckworth (Nadine Pons) 1990- 


Mrs. George Carpenter (Emily Pascal) (Part-time) 1971-1980 

Mrs. K.P. Floyd (Dianne Smith) 1980-1987 

Mrs. Edward Pascal (Frances Micol) (Part-time) 1987-1990 

Mrs. Kevin Duckworth (Nadine Pons) 1990- 


History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


The following men and women have served the Waldensian 
Presbyterian Church as elders since its beginning in 1893. Many of 
them have served numerous terms. In the earliest years, terms of 
office were five years and a man could serve any number of 
consecutive terms. Mr. Jean Henri Pascal (Bienvenue) served five 
consecutive terms or twenty-five years. 

In later years, the term of office was reduced to three years, and 
consecutive terms were no longer permitted. At the present time, a 
two-year rest is required between three-year terms of service. 

Some items of interest are: 

April 1, 1935, Mr. Julius M. Ramsay, Sr. became the first 
non-Waldensian elder of the church. 

March 2, 1947, Mr. Daniel B. Bounous, Sr. was elected 
Elder for Life. 

In 1964, Mrs. J. Laird (Jeanne Verreault) Jacob became 
the first woman elder in the Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church and also the first woman to serve as a session 
representative to a meeting of Concord Presbytery. 

The names below are listed in sequence relating to the date of 
their first election to office. 

Antoine Martinat 


Arthur W. Baker 


Jean Garrou (pere) 


Louis Philip Guigou 


Henri F. Long 


Edward Micol, Sr. 


Albert Beux 


Ben Pons 


Jean Henri Pascal (Gardiole) 


John P. Rostan, Sr. 


Henri Vinay 


Antoine Grill 


Jean Henri Pascal (Bienvenue) 


Edward Pons 


Pierre Ribet 


George W. Williams, Jr. 


Henri Martinat (Pineburr) 


Earl B. Searcy, Sr. 


Jean Henri Pascal (Balsille) 


J. Armand Verreault, Jr. 


Jean Refour, Jr. 


Loy Ray Burris, Sr. 


John A. Pons 


Emmanuel Richard 


Jacques Henri Bounous 


Reese Scull 


Henri F. Martinat 


R.E. Spainhour 


Henry F. Garrou 


W.J. Gotten 


Philip S. Grill 


J. Francis Tron, Jr. 


Albert F. Garrou 


Henry P. Perrou 


Daniel B. Bounous, Sr. 


Lacy M. Hall 


John D. Guigou 


George D. Carpenter 


Frederic H. Pons, Sr. 


Louis E. Deaton 


Julius M. Ramsay, Sr. 


Carl C. Long 


Church Leaders 


Auburn H. Setzer 
T. Edward Burney 
Daniel B. Bounous, Jr. 
James C. Farris 
Peter A. Me>i;re 
John A. Bleynat 
Henry Grill, Jr. 
Edward Pascal 
Leon E. Guigou 
Clyde N. Young, Sr. 
W. Harold Mitchell 
M. Haynes Rutherford 
Valdo S. Martinat 
Louis W. Garrou 
Mrs. J. Laird (Jeanne 

Verreault) Jacob 
Henry J. Pascal 
Walter Pons 
J. Edward Garrou 
Mrs. Lacy M. (lula Britt) 

Robert E. Micol 
Richard C. Neale, Sr. 
Edgar W. Lane, Jr. 
Philip H. Garrou 
W.D. Owens, Jr. 
Mrs. A. Olin (Evelyn Senter) 

J. Ellis Zimmerman 
Mrs. Arthur W. (Rassie 

Grisette) Baker 
John C. Little 
Claude J. Shaffer 
Robert A. Pascal 
Earl B. Searcy, Jr. 
Mrs. John A. (Margaret 

Fulbright) Bleynat 
Benny Ray Powell 
J. Henry Bounous, Sr. 
Mrs. Leroy (Evelyn Pons) 

John Harvey Guigou 
Paul Edward Bardet 
Benjamin W. Garrou 
Mrs. John P. (Naomi Bounous) 

C. Frank Gaddy 
Glenn R. Yoder 


Rene A. Durand 



Mrs. J. Edward (Doris 


Campbell) Garrou 



John A. Guigou 



Mrs. Daniel B. (Hazel Coley 


Bounous, Jr. 



Carlton E. Caruso, Sr. 



H. Benjamin Perrou 



J. Hugh Fletcher 



Victor H. Garrou, Sr. 



Mrs. Robert E. (Frances 


Deal) Micol 



Ernest Jahier 



Mrs. M. Haynes (Vera Berry) 




John Rostan (Chicago) 



Mrs. Paul C. (Harriet 


Bleynat) Hastings, Sr. 



Mrs. J. Hugh (Mildred Price) 




J. A. Grisette 



Granville W. Morrow 



Mrs. Richard C. (Yvonne) 


Neale, Jr. 



Edwin A. Bowditch 



John S. Heilman 

Mrs. Walter (June Harrison) 






Edward L. Blejoiat, Sr. 
Mrs. John A. (Betty Lou 



Mitchell) Guigou 



Joseph A. Hern 



Mrs. Edward (Frances Micol) 





Hugh A. Blackwell 

Mrs. W. Harold (Pat Melvin) 






Mrs. Stephen (Hattie 


Reynolds) Rostan 
Mrs. Herbert N. (Betty 



Bumgarner) Garrou 



Mrs. I. Wayburn (Hilda 


Ogle) Jones 



Mrs. Billie (Betsy Dodd) 




Mrs. Horace (Carol Perrou) 





Warren A. Ward 



History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Mrs. Edwin (Elizabeth 

McFarland) Bowditch 
Donald M. Brittain 
Lee R. Suttle 
Mrs. J. Henry (Jewell Pyatt) 

Horace Brown 
Louis Vinay, Jr. 
Mrs. John C. (Sara Turner) 

Eric Parsons 
Mrs. George (Edith Rainey) 

Marion D. Arnold 

Henry E. Perrou 



Mrs. Kenneth (Rosalba 


Pascal) Shook 



Frank J. Grill 


John Lafferty, Sr. 



Louis D. Bounous, Sr. 



Mrs. Jack (Agnes Ramsay) 




Marcus W.H. Mitchell 



David B. Wiese 



Michael Kaufman 
Mrs. John C. (Kathy 



Eisenhart) Parse 



Julius C. Pons, Jr. 


Church Leaders 



The following is a list of the men and women who have served the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church as deacons since its beginning in 
1893. The first approximately ^ifty years of church life the elders 
(session) and the deacons met together. About 1942 during the 
pastorate of Dr. Watson Fairley, the two bodies began meeting 
separately due to the insistence of Dr. Fairley. 

In 1964, Mrs. Leroy (Evelyn Pons) Bronson became the first 
woman to serve on the diaconate. In 1987, Mrs. Richard F. (Elsie 
Mull) Whisenant became the first woman to serve as Chairwoman 
of the Diaconate. 

The names are listed in sequence relating to the date of their first 
election to office. Many have served several terms. 

Jaubert Micol 


Fred Searcy 


Antoine Grill 


George F. Squillario 


Pierre Emmanuel Micol 


Valdo S. Martinat 


Jean Louis Garrou 


Robert E. Micol 


Francois A. Perrou 


Eric Thierfelder 


Jean Long 


John A. Bleynat 


Auguste Pascal 


Edward Pascal 


Jean Garrou (Bobo) 


Daniel B. Bounous, Jr. 


Frank Pascal 


John Harvey Guigou 


Filippo Ghigo 


J. Edward Garrou 


John P. Rostan, Sr. 


J. Laird Jacob, Sr. 


Edward Micol, Sr. 


Louis D. Bounous, Sr. 


John D. Guigou 


Walter Pons 


Henry Grill, Jr. 


Julius A. Grisette 


Ben Pons 


Leon E. Guigou 


Frederick Ribet 


Donald H. Martinat 


M. Haynes Rutherford 


W Harold Mitchell 


George W. Williams, Jr. 


Julius M. Ramsay, Jr. 


Ben Grill 


Philip H. Garrou 


Earl B. Searcy, Sr. 


Hall E. Williams 


Reese Scull 


John A. Guigou 


Wade H. Stemple 


Arnaldo A. Pons 


J. Armand Verreault, Jr. 


Ted Starnes 


Peter A. Meytre 


Earl B. Searcy, Jr. 


James C. Farris 


Loy Ray Burris, Jr. 


Henry J. Pascal 


J. Ellis Zimmerman 


Onesime H. Pons, Sr. 


John P. Rostan, Jr. 


J. Francis Tron, Jr. 


T. Edward Burney 


Erwin Williams 


J. Henry Bounous, Sr. 


C. Frank Gaddy, Jr. 


Edgar W. Lane, Jr. 


Julius Deal 


W.D. Owens, Jr. 


Louis W. Garrou 


Robert A. Pascal 



History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 

J. Dallas Brinkley, Jr. 


Worth Campbell 


Charles L. Briggs, Sr. 


Thomas E. HoUingsworth 


Ray C. Fletcher 


Granville W. Morrow 


Gerald N. Baker, Sr. 


Carlton E. Caruso, Sr. 


J. Hugh Fletcher 


H. Benjamin Perrou 


I. Wayburn Jones 


Charlie Vinay 


Glenn R. Yoder 


Benny Ray Powell 


Mrs. Leroy (Evelyn Pons) 



George H. Bleynat 


Victor H. Garrou, Sr. 


Elmo J. Pascal 


Henry E. Perrou 


John Stephen Perrou 


Herbert N. Garrou 


Mrs. Paul C. (Harriet 

Bleynat) Hastings, Sr. 


Mrs. Stephen (Hattie 

Reynolds) Rostan 


P. Paul Deaton 


Benjamin W. Garrou 


John Rostan (Chicago) 


David R. Burnette 


H. Lindy Hudson 


John S. Heilman 


Mrs. John C. (Sara 

Turner) Little 


Phife C. Ross 


John P. Rostan III 


Richard F. Whisenant 


Mrs. Herbert N. (Betty 

Bumgarner) Garrou 


James L. Hatley 


Joseph A. Hern 


Hedrick R. Powell 


William M. Brinkley 


Lee Roy Huffman 


John Thomas Pons 


Mrs. J. Hugh (Mildred Price) 



John Henry Shell 


Mrs. George D. (Emily Pascal) 

Carpenter 1974 

James H. Rostan 1974 

Jerry R. Wilkinson 1974 

Donald M. Brittain 1975 

Jack Burns 1975 

Billie E. Pittman 1975 

John Harvey Wilson 1975 

Hugh A. Blackwell 1976 

Edward L. Bleynat, Sr. 1976 

Steven Demiter 1976 
Mrs. Frank (Melany Bounous) 

Grill 1976 

Bruce Cannon 1977 

Steve Masten 1977 
Mrs. Granville W. (Alma 

Whisenant) Morrow 1977 

Frank J. Grill 1978 

Lee R. Suttle 1978 
Mrs. Richard F. (Elsie Mull) 

Whisenant 1978 

James B. Brinkley 1979 
Mrs. L.R. (Doris Pons) Burris, Jr. 1979 
Mrs. Victor H. (Ann Bills) 

Garrou, Sr. 1979 
Mrs. Braxton (Maxine Briggs) 

Hightower 1979 

Marcus W.H. Mitchell 1979 

Warren A. Ward 1979 

Kendall Hanks 1980 

Stephen H. Martinat 1980 

Mrs. John (Rose Perrou) Rostan 1980 
Mrs. J. Henry (Jewell Pyatt) 

Bounous, Sr. 1981 

Horace Brown 1981 

Julius C. Pons, Jr. 1981 

Louis Vinay, Jr. 1981 

John R. Williams 1981 
Mrs. John A. (Margaret Fulbright) 

Bleynat 1982 

Mrs. Catherine Rivoire Cole 1982 

Eric Parsons 1982 

Mrs. Warren (Jan) Ward 1982 
Mrs. Louis (Viola Newton) 

Vinay, Sr. 1982 

Mrs. Jack (Agnes Ramsay) Burns 1983 
Mrs. Benjamin W. (Audrey Taylor) 

Garrou 1983 


Church Leaders 


John M. Heilman 1983 

Spottswood P. Neale 1983 
Mrs. Edward L. (Meredith Brady) 

Bleynat, Sr. 1984 
Mrs. James L. (Mary Louise 

Pascal) Hatley 1984 

John E. Mode 1984 

B. Wesley Garrou 1985 

Harold Wellman 1985 

David B. Wiese 1985 
Mrs. John R. (Carolyn Pascal) 

Williams 1985 

Ms. Evelyn Bounous 1986 

T.M. Rembert 1986 

John F. Black 1987 

Ms. Rachel Bowditch 1987 

Gregory Mastin 1987 

Cam C. McNeely 1987 

Athos Rostan, Jr. 1987 
Mrs. Robert (Gwendolyn Pons) 

Bonner 1988 

Kevin Farris 1988 

Robert Heilman 1988 
Mrs. Rick (Susan Rhoney) Smith 1988 

Mrs. Mary Beth Wilkinson 1988 

Walter G. Church, Jr. 1989 

Gene Garrett 1989 

Steve L. MuUis 1989 
Mrs. Harold (Kathy Jones) 

Wellman 1989 

J.J. David Fletcher 1990 
Mrs. W. Joseph (Sharon Christie) 

Jacumin, Sr. 1990 
Mrs. Gregory (Jennie Lucas) 

Mastin 1990 

W. David Owens, III 1990 

G. Parks Sherrill, Jr. 1990 

Ms. Pam Bonner 1991 

David Hart 1991 
Mrs. James W. (Caroline Hunt) 

Kirkpatrick 1991 

Charles M. Young 1991 

242 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


Sunday School was an important part of the life of the children in 
the early days of the settlement. From the very beginning, Sunday 
School was conducted each week. For the first ten or twelve years, 
the lessons were conducted entirely in French. They consisted 
primarily of Bible verse memorization and teaching from the Bible. 

The first Sunday Schools were held in the frame building used as 
a headquarters for the settlement and also used as a church on 
Sundays until the sanctuary was completed and dedicated in 1899. 
After the completion of the sanctuary, the Sunday School was held 
in the church building. The classes were divided by age and met in 
the four corners of the building. 

After the completion of C.A. Tron Hall in 1922, classes were held 
in this room. The classes were divided by curtains of burlap hung on 
wires so they could be pushed back out of the way when the room 
was needed for larger gatherings. 

An assembly of the entire Sunday School started the program 
each week. There was scripture reading, comments by the superin- 
tendent and several songs. The classes were then dispersed to their 
assigned area for their studies and reassembled at the end of the 
class for more singing and a prayer of dismissal. In the 1920's, after 
English was used in class, leaflets concerning the lesson were used 
as aids to learning. Beautiful posters illustrating some central 
thought of the lesson were often used. 

Rewards for perfect attendance received much recognition in the 
first forty or fifty years of existence. Attendance certificates and 
promotion certificates were presented each year at Rally Day. 
Perfect attendance pins were also awarded. A first year of perfect 
attendance merited a pin, the second year merited a wreath to 
encircle the pin and each succeeding perfect attendance year 
merited a bar to attach below the pin. Much effort went into earning 
these awards, and they were valued highly by the recipients. 

Prior to 1940, we have very few written records listing our Sunday 
School superintendents in the church minutes. We found one 
listing showing Mr. W.C. Coley as superintendent in 1932. It is 
possible there should have been other people listed. 

1893 through 1903 Henri F. Long 

1904 through 1919 John Henry Pascal (Bienvenue) 

1920 through 1931 Louis PhlHp Guigou 

1932 W.C. Coley 

1933 through 1938 Louis Philip Guigou 

Church Leaders 

1939 through 1951 

John D. Guigou 

1952 through 1955 

George W. Wilhams, Jr. 

1956 through 1960 

Edward Pascal 

1961 through 1962 

Carlton E. Caruso, Sr. 


Thomas E. Hollingsworth 

1964 through 1965 

Granville W. Morrow 

1966 through 1967 

Glenn R. Yoder 


Charlie Vinay 


John C. Little 


Ray C. Fletcher 


Richard F. Whisenant 

1972 through 1974 

Lee Roy Huffman 


John R. Williams 

1976 through 1977 

Mrs. Hugh (Mildred) Fletcher 


Mrs. John A. (Margaret) Bleynat 

1979 through 1980 

Granville W. Morrow 

1981 through 1982 

Stephen H. Martinat 

1983 through 1986 

Donald M. Brittain 

1987 through 1989 

Donald M. Brittain and 

T.M. Rembert 


T.M. Rembert 


T.M. Rembert and 

M. Kevin Farris 


M. Kevin Farris 



History of the Waldensian Presbj^erian Church 


The year given indicates the year term began. Some women 
served two years consecutively then served another term later. In 
recent years the term of office has been one year with adjustment 
for changing from ending year in September to December. 


Mrs. Albert F. Garrou 


Mrs. J. Laird Jacob 




Mrs. Joe Hern (Nelle) 


Mrs. Arthur W. Baker 


Mrs. John A. Pons (Janie) 



Mrs. Frederic H. Pons 


Mrs. Herbert Garrou 




Mrs. John D. Guigou 


Mrs. Olin stiff (Evelyn) 



Mrs. Ray Fletcher (Rheta) 


Mrs. Ben Pons (Marianne) 


Mrs. Granville Morrow 


Mrs. O.H. Pons (Essie) 



Mrs. Earl B. Searcy, Sr. 


Mrs. Edward Pascal 




Mrs. Haynes Rutherford 


Mrs. Ben Huffman 




Mrs. Frederic H. Pons 


Mrs. John Bleynat 




Mrs. Watson Fairley 


Mrs. J. Henry Bounous 




Mrs. Frederic H. Pons 


Mrs. Glenn Yoder 




Mrs. J. Francis Verreault 


Mrs. Richard Whisenant 




Mrs. Albert McClure 


Mrs. John A. Guigou 

(Mary Emma) 

(Betty Lou) 


Mrs. Henry Grill (Louise) 


Mrs. Edward L. Bleynat 


Mrs. Leon Guigou (Nell) 



Mrs. J.P. Rostan, Jr. 


Mrs. John Rostan (Rose) 



Mrs. Harold Mitchell 


Mrs. George Carpenter 




Mrs. Billie Pittman 


Mrs. Frederic H. Pons 




Mrs. James Hatley 


Mrs. LW. Jones (Hilda) 

(Mary Louise) 


Mrs. Louis W. Garrou 


Mrs. Horace Brown (Carol) 



Mrs. Steven Demiter (Ann) 


Mrs. Louis E. Deaton 


Mrs. Hugh Fletcher 




Mrs. Haynes Rutherford 


Mrs. Victor Garrou (Ann) 



Mrs. Louis Vinay (Viola) 


Mrs. J. Francis Verreault 


Mrs. Horace Brown (Carol) 



Mrs. Duane Robinson 


Mrs. J. Edward Garrou 




Mrs. John A. Guigou 
(Betty Lou) 


Mrs. Earl Searcy, Jr. 


Mrs. Steve Mullis (Ann) 

Church Leaders 



Mrs. Benjamin Perrou 

Mrs. J. Frances Verreault 





Mrs. Harold Mitchell 

Mrs. Leon Guigou (Nell) 




Mrs. Robert Micol 

Mrs. Emmanuel Richard 





Mrs. A.W. Baker (Rassie) 


Mrs. Earl B. Searcy, Jr 

Mrs. Gus Whisenant (Lena) 




Mrs. J.A. Hern, Sr. 

Mrs. Catherine Cole 




Mrs. Pete Meytre 

Mrs. Marshall Warren 





Mrs. Steve Rostan 

Mrs. Frederic H. Pons 





Mrs. Edgar Lane (Jane) 


Mrs. Olin Stiff (Evelyn) 


Mrs. Herbert Garrou 

Mrs. John A. Bleynat 





Mrs. Billie Pittman 

Mrs. Haynes Rutherford 





Mrs. Edward Pascal 

Mrs. J. Laird Jacob, Sr. 





Mrs. John Rostan (Rose) 


Mrs. John D. Guigou 

Mrs. Hugh Fletcher 





Mrs. Edward Micol, Sr. 

Mrs. Granville Morrow 





Mrs. Ben Pons (Marianne) 


Mrs. Richard Neale, Jr. 

Mrs. J.P. Rostan, Sr. 





Mrs. John P. Rostan, Jr. 

Mrs. George Williams, Jr. 





Mrs. Daniel Bounous 

Mrs. Edwin Bowditch** 





Mrs. Paul Felker (Carol) 


Mrs. L.P. Guigou 

Mrs. Frank Grill (Melany) 




Mrs. Paul Hastings 

Mrs. Albert F. Garrou 





Mrs. Leroy Bronson 

Mrs. Watson Fairley* 





Mrs. I.W. Jones (Hilda) 


Mrs. John Pons (Lydia) 


* Presented by Concord Presbytery 

** Presented by Holston Presbytery 

246 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


Presented by the 





January 1980 

A plaque was presented to him in appreciation for his excellent 
leadership as Building Committee Chairman for the renovation 
work done during 1978 and 1979. To further express appreciation a 
check for $1,000 was sent in his honor to his alma mater Lees- 
McRae College, Banner Elk, N.C. 




February 28, 1982 

A plaque of appreciation was presented to her for her faithful sixty 
years as a member of the church choirs. 






February 17, 1986 

Plaques of appreciation were presented for their many years of 
devoted service to the Waldensian Historical Museum. 




The plaque was presented in grateful appreciation for his twenty- 
five years of faithful service as the Senior High Sunday School 

Church Leaders 247 



August 13, 1989 

The plaque noted her devoted service to the Waldensian Museum 
and to the citizenry of this town. 




October 6, 1991 

The plaque was presented in grateful appreciation for his faithful 
service as chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee and 
the Building Committee in the renovation of the sanctuary. 


John A. Bleynat June 17, 1990 

George W Williams, Jr. June 17, 1990 

Edwin Bowditch June 16, 1991 

Valdo Martinat June 16, 1991 

James C. Farris June 21, 1992 

Glenn R. Yoder June 28, 1992 

This is the highest honor that can be given to a man, by Presby- 
terian Men, for outstanding leadership and work in the church. 



The following is a listing of the articles which have been placed in 
the time capsules which were sealed in the cornerstone of the 
sanctuary extension. These items relate to the history and organi- 
zation of the church and are representative of the times in which we 
live. It is intended that in the year 2041 the materials in the time 
capsules should be removed, viewed and reinterred. Placed in the 
cornerstone on February 17, 1991. 



Organizational plan of Western North Carolina Presbytery 

Picture of Sanctuary 1922 

Picture of Sanctuary, Tron Hall and School 1923 

Postcards of Church — c. 1960 

Pictures of Congregation, Palm Sunday, April 8, 1990 

Pictures of Nursery Classes January 1991 

Church bulletin showing interior of church, December 9, 1990 

Church bulletin of February 17, 1991 

1991 Officers Book (listing all committees, officers, duties, and 

1991 Building Committee Report 

Church Roll of February 17, 1991 

Choir Materials: cantata bulletin of December 16, 1991 

choir pin given and choir certificates 
given to senior girls and boys from Les 
Jeunes Chanteurs 
Audio tape of Chancel Choir music 

A New Testament — Good News for Modern Man (today's English 

Materials from drama From This Day Forward: 

post card of Tron House 
drama brochure from 1991 season 
program brochure from 1991 season 
script of the drama 

250 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 

Front page of Charlotte Observer, February 17, 1991 

List of armed service personnel in Middle East war related to our 

Timex watch showing time and date of cornerstone laying 
Uncirculated 1990 United States coins 



Commitment & Witness Committee — report on activities 
Service Committee — report on activities 
Strengthening the Church Committee: 

report given to church September 30, 1990 

evaluation report of 1990 

1991 — structure of committee 

1991 — Christian Education staff listing 

1991 — Sunday School roster 

1991 — Youth Club roster 

art work of each Youth Club Class 
Historical Committee 

1990 — committee report 

1991 — committee assignments 

1991 — program of Emancipation Celebration 
Booklet explaining symbolism of church windows 
Booklet, "The Waldenses of Burke County" 

by Fred Cranford 
French hymnal currently in use 
Necklace with Waldensian seal and explanation 
Handpainted broach with Waldensian seal 
Handpainted broach with Waldensian lady in costume 
Video of each display area in the Museum 

produced by Commander Edward Bleynat with 

Miss Catherine Dalmas as guide 
Printed tour guide of museum. 
Presbyterian men — report 
Presbyterian Women 

Letter on activities & greetings to members in 2041 

year book of 1990-1991 

picture of French Circle in costume 

hand written French Bible lesson by the late 

Mrs. Irma Ghigo Rostan 

The (Second) Cornerstone 251 

Youth Fellowships 

program calendars 

February 13, 1991 newspaper, "The Evening 

Herald," listing of honor roll students 
Youth Fellowship roster 
Popular audio tape of M.C. Hammer 

252 History of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church 


Allix, Peter. The Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of 
Piedmont and the Albigenses. 1690-92. Gallatin, TN: Church 
History Research and Archives, 1989. 

Book of Minutes and Documents Relative to the Founding of the 
Valdese Corporation, 1893-1894, No. 1. Trans. W. W. Kibler. 

Church of Valdese, N.C., Minutes of Proceedings, No. 2. Trans. 
Cathy R. Pons, 1987. 

Eglise de Valdese, N.C. Proces Verbaux, No. 2. Available at the 
Waldensian Presbyterian Church, Valdese, NC. 

Faber, George Stanley. The History of the Ancient Vallenses and 
Albigenses. 1836. Gallatin, TN: Church History Research and 
Archives, 1990. 

Ghigo, Francis. The Provenqal Speech of the Waldensian Colonists of 
Valdese, North Carolina. Valdese: Historic Valdese Foundation, 

Grill, Antoine. "List and History of the Waldensians that Landed at 
Valdese in 1893 and Later Comings." Unpublished work, 1941. 

Guigou, Mrs. Louis Philippe (Lillian Sweeney). Historical Sketches 
of the Waldenses and the Waldensian Presbyterian Church and 
History of the Women of the Church, Waldensian Presbyterian 
Church, Valdese, N.C. Unpublished work, 1934-1954. 

Historian, Women of the Church. History of the Women of the 
Church. Valdese, NC: Waldensian Presbyterian Church, 

Historical Committee of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church of 
Valdese, NC. Genealogy of the Waldensian Settlers in Valdese, 
North Carolina, 1893-1990. Charlotte: Delmar, 1990. 

Livres des Proces Verbaux et des Documents se referant a la 
Fondation de la Valdese Corporation, 1893-94, No. 1. Available at 
the Waldensian Presbyterian Church, Valdese, NC. 

Resources 253 

Perrin, Jean Paul. History of the Ancient Christians. 1619. Gallatin, 
TN: Church History Research and Archives, 1991. 

Pons, Cathy R. Language Death Among Waldensians of Valdese, 
North Carolina. Dissertation, Indiana University, 1990. 

Salvageot, Ippolito. "Memoirs." Unpublished work, 1894-1903. 

Session minutes of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church of Valdese, 
North Carolina. 1931-1992. 

Tourn, Giorgio. The Waldensians: The First 800 Years. Torino, IT: 
Claudiana, 1980. 

Tourn, Giorgio, et al. You are My Witnesses: The Waldensians 
Across 800 years. Torino, IT: Claudiana, 1989. 

Waldensian Herald. Valdese, NC: Waldensian Presbyterian Church, 

Watts, George B. The Waldenses in the New World. Durham: Duke 
UP, 1941. Charlotte: Delmar, 1990. 

The Waldenses of Valdese. Charlotte: 

Heritage, 1980. 

Worship bulletins of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church of 
Valdese, North Carolina. 1941-1992. 


Adult Handbell Choir 176 
AGAPE Retirement Housing 138, 

144, 145, 167 
Albert, King Charles 11 
American Missionary Society 19, 25, 

26, 27 
American Waldensian Aid Society 87, 

96, 115, 116, 134 
American Waldensian Society 142 
Anderson, Mrs. Catherine 87 
Anderson, Rev. Dr. John 127 
Angel tree 151, 158 
Arbuthnot, Dr. Charles 134 
Arnaud, Henri 8, 9 
Avery, Isaac T. 203 


Baker, Gerald 113 

Balsiglia 9 

"Balsille" 28 

Baptismal service 176 

Barium Springs Home for Children 

47, 81, 82, 87, 198 
Bazaar 50, 63, 65, 81 
Beckwith, General Charles 10 
Bethany Church, Philadelphia 30, 33 
Bleynat, CDR Edward L. 133, 152, 

166, 169, 246 
Bleynat, John A. 105, 120, 125, 148, 

156, 157, 215, 247 
Bollinger's Chapel 16, 25 
Bonner, Miss Pamela 162 
Bouchard, Moderator Giorgio 134 
Bounous, Jean 14, 97 
Bounous, Jeanette 71 
Bounous, Jr. Mrs. Daniel B. 104, 125 
Bounous, Louis 97 
Bounous, Sr., Daniel B. 236 
Bounous, Sr., Louis D. 169 
Boy Scouts 78, 79, 93, 140, 168 
Boys Choir 108, 121 
Bridges, John 122 
Brinkley, Mrs. Fern Abernethy 136, 

158, 162 
Brinkley, Sr., J.D. 79 
Brinkley, Sr., James Benton 122, 128 

Brinkley, William 157 

Bronson, Mrs. Leroy 110, 113, 191, 

Broughton, the Honorable J. Melville 

Brown, Miss Sylvia 135 
Building and Renovation Programs 

Building the church 28-34, 187 

C.A. Tron Hall 62, 63, 74, 112, 113, 

117, 122, 185, 207, 242 
Caligan, Reverend James Henley 69, 

70, 72, 81, 193 
Calvin, John 4 

Camp Grier 103, 116, 119, 167 
Catechism lessons 62, 212 
Cemetery 17, 18, 44, 47, 65, 68, 74, 

78, 85, 108, 119, 163, 168, 215 
Centennial Fund 155 
Centennial observance 155, 170, 175 
Centennial Park 167 
Chancel Choir 90, 108, 114, 117, 122, 

123, 144, 158, 168, 176 
Chanforan, Angrogna 5 
Chanteurs, Les Jeunes 144 
Chapel district 28, 38 
Cherub Choir 142, 147, 172, 176 
Children's choirs 102, 131 
Children's Message 154 
Chrismon Tree 120, 158 
Christian Education Committee 122, 

Christian Endeavor Society 64, 65, 70 
Christian Relations Committee 178 
Christian Union 44, 48 
Christmas Cantata 122 
Christmas scene 103, 111 
Church library 68, 78, 112 
Churchman's Award 157 
Comba, Reverend Guido 85 
Commitment and Witness Committee 

Committee of Synodical Home 

Missions 40, 45 
Communion 63, 68, 154, 161, 162, 177 

Congregational Church 19, 25, 26, 27, 

Cornerstone 30, 128, 160, 161 
Courenta 224 
Courenta Dance Team 100 
Cranford, Fred 114, 142 


Dalmas, Miss Catherine 155, 247 
Dean, Mrs. Bess 150, 154 
Dedication of enlarged sanctuary 

Dedication of the church 33, 128 
Deodato, Achille 118 
Dial-A-Prayer 103 
Dickey, Rev. Ann Garrou 125, 129, 

131, 132, 134, 137, 145 
Dickey, Rev. David 137 
Duckworth, Nadine Pons 154, 167 
Duke of Savoy 6-9 


Easter Sunrise Service 74, 115, 127, 

Edict of Emancipation 11, 30 
Edict of Emancipation Celebration 

39, 48, 68, 88, 89, 96, 115, 118, 119, 

125, 126, 151, 156, 214 
Edict of Nantes 7 
Edict of Tolerance 9 
Educational Building 97-100, 102, 

143, 159, 164, 198, 209 
English choir 58 
Ervin, Jr., Sam J. 79, 114 
Ervin, William C. 203 
Erwin, George P. 206 
Evangelical Waldensian Church 27 
Every Member Canvass 50, 58, 77 
Exile in Switzerland 7 

Fairley, D.D., Reverend Watson 

Munford 77-81, 196, 239 
Fairley, Mrs. 77-82 
Farris, James C. 144, 247 

Felker, Jr., Doctor Paul Henley 

115-182, 200 
Felker, Mrs. Carol 121, 152, 168 
Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration, 

1943 79 
First Baptist Church 79, 114, 118, 

First Presbyterian Church in 

Morganton 203 
First United Methodist Church 118, 

146, 148, 161, 162 
Fletcher, Hugh 137 
Fletcher, Mrs. Hugh (Mildred) 149, 

Floyd, Mrs. Dianne 125, 150 
Franklin 25, 26 
French language 6, 16, 18, 26, 27, 33, 

44, 57, 58, 59, 61, 64, 69, 74, 78, 

112, 176, 187, 190, 194, 218, 242 
French choir 45, 58, 104, 107 
French Circle 81, 128, 129, 174 
From This Day Forward 114, 117, 

127, 142, 224, 225 


G'Segner, Rev. Ford 117, 120 

Gardiole 25 

Gardiole district 28, 38 

Garrou, Dr. Benjamin Wesley 150, 

153, 166 
Garrou, Edward and Doris 124, 129 
Garrou, Francois 38, 39, 188, 227 
Garrou, James Edward 124, 126, 133, 

155, 211, 246 
Garrou, Jean (Bobo) 38, 188 
Garrou, Jean (pere) 37, 38, 188 
Garrou, Jean Louis 45, 227 
Garrou, Mr. and Mrs. Albert F. 106, 

Garrou, Mrs. Albert F. 70, 86 
Garrou, Pastor Henri 38-40, 45, 188, 

Garrou, Philip H. 103 
Garrou, Sr., Albert 225 
Garrou, Sr., Mrs. Victor 155, 212 
Garrou, Sr., Victor 157 
Gay, Dr. Teophilo 14 
Gaydou, Marguerite 21, 213 

Genealogy of Waldensian Settlers in 

Valdese, North Carolina, 1893-1990 

Ghigo, Dr. Francis 71, 112, 132, 189, 

Ghigo, Miss Anita 57, 72, 78, 85, 189 
Ghigo, Mrs. Juliette 42, 57, 58 
Ghigo, Pastor Filippo Enrico 41-43, 

45, 50, 132, 189, 214, 219 
Giampiccoli, Pastor Neri 118 
Gibson, Rev. Frank 142 
Gilliam, Miss Shirley 104, 107, 108 
Girl Scouts 78, 79, 168 
Glorious Return 8, 9, 12, 36, 69, 118, 

127, 129, 155, 193, 215 
Gourley, Rev. Caroline 161, 162 
Grana, Rev. Dr. Gregory 97, 100, 109, 

110, 112, 117, 145, 150 
Grant, Mrs. Marguerite S. 26, 38, 40, 

43, 45, 55, 207 
Grill, Antoine 18, 26, 38, 39, 40, 45, 

79, 80, 86, 225, 227 
Grill, Mrs. Melany (Bounous) 140, 

Guigou, Alexis 138, 152, 231 
Guigou, John D. 101, 208, 243 
Guigou, Louis Philippe 23, 58. 231, 

Guigou, Mrs. John D. 86, 117, 136, 

Guigou, Mrs. Leon 81 
Guigou, Mrs. Louis Philippe 26, 41, 

81, 82, 83, 86 


Handbell choir 121 

Harris, Rev. M.L 79 

Hatley, Mrs. Mary Louise 141 

Heilman, John 117, 137 

Heilman, Mrs. John 108 

Hern, Jr. Mrs. Joe 104 

Hern, Mrs. Joe 81, 83, 192 

Historical Collection Committee 86 

Historical Committee 113, 117, 122, 

123, 136, 146, 155, 158, 166, 178 
Historical Register 139 
History of the Ancient Christians 3 
History of the Waldenses 137 

History of the Women's Auxiliary and 
the Women of the Church 26, 41 

Holy Week Services 118, 142, 161 

Home Circle 81 

Honorary Life Membership Awards 
82, 140 

Huffman, Robert 0. 74 

Hull, Dr. and Mrs. Walter 117, 119, 
123, 135, 136, 149, 158, 159 


Italian television 154 

Jacob, Sr., Mrs. J. Laird 110, 121, 236 
Jacumin, Lydia 190 
Jahier, Ernest 135, 218 
Jahier, Michel Auguste 19, 25, 26 
Janavel, Josue 8 
Janavel, Rev. Alfred 87, 129 
Jones, Bishop Bevel 162 
Jones, Hilda 135 
Jones, Rev. Clyde 109, 110 
Junior Choir 78, 79, 82, 85, 91, 92, 


Kibler, W.W. 35 

Kindergarten 99, 111 

Kirkpatrick, James W. 152, 154, 162, 

Kistler, Andrew M. 67, 208 

Leger, Jean Jacques 18, 31, 33, 70, 

L'Echo des Vallees Vaudoises 34, 186 
Ladies Aid Society 63, 67, 68 
Ladies' Auxiliary 68, 70 
Lamberth, Jr., Dr. Clements E. 133, 

Lane, Dr. Edgar 149 
Language Death Among Waldensians 

of Valdese, North Carolina 159, 219 
Le Phare des Alpes 224, 227 

Le Phare des Alpes clubhouse 215, 

Le Temoin 13 
Legal Board 21 

Les Jeunes Chanteurs 147, 173, 176 
Les Jeunes Chanteuses 123 
Livre des Proces Verbaux et des 

Documents se referant a la 

foundation de la Valdese 

Corporation. 1893-94 No. 1 18 
Long, Henri 38, 40, 43 
Long, John 21, 58, 79, 208, 213 
Long, Marguerite Gaydou 58 
Lord's Supper 163, 177 
Louis XIV of France 7, 8 


Merindol, France 5, 168 
Malan, Pastor Hugo 157 
Manse 23, 26, 43, 47, 55, 58, 65, 66, 

68, 70, 84, 102, 103, 108, 112, 118, 

152, 193, 199 
Marshall, Miss Mary Ruth 97 
Martinat, Antoine 17, 18, 26 
Martinat, Henri (Pineburr) 45, 46, 64, 

80, 86, 219, 227 
Martinat, Mrs. Henri F. 45 
Martinat, Valdo 117, 125, 247 
Maundy Thursday 119, 154, 161 
Maze Coffee House 112, 118 
McClure, Sr., Reverend Albert Bonner 

83-87, 111, 122, 197 
Meeting house 16, 26, 215 
Meier, John 204 
Melody Choir 176 
Memorial Funds 179 
Men of the Church 71, 105, 115, 119, 

151, 152, 161 
Methodist Campground 125 
Meytre, Mrs. Peter 44, 215 
Micol, Jaubert 18, 37, 203, 231 
Micol, Miss Rachel 116, 120 
Micol, Mrs. Edward 86 
Miller, D.D., Rev. Samuel 3, 4 
Miller, Rev. Beth Ann 154 
Missionary teachers 38, 40, 45, 221 
Mitchell, W. Harold 101, 105, 136 
Mode, John 134, 139 

Monnet, Rev. Pietro Enrico 46, 63, 

67, 68, 208 
Mont Viso Insurance Company 228 
Moore, Miss Lois Grier 107, 109 
Moral Board 21, 23, 25 
Moravian Church 68, 69, 151, 193, 

Morganton Herald 186 
Morganton Land and Improvement 

Company 15, 204, 206 
Morganton News Herald 190 
Morrison, the Honorable Cameron 79 
Mowery, Steven Lee 120-134, 145 
Munroe, Dr. C.A. 45 
Museum 2000 Fund 136 
Museum Building and Planning 

Committee 112 


Napoleon 10 
Neff, Felix 10 

Newton, Miss Kathy 125, 128, 131, 

Old Rock School 43, 151, 156, 158, 

159, 215 
Olivetan 5 
Organ 45, 58, 65, 72, 86, 107, 135, 

139, 148 
Outdoor oven 16, 217 

Palmer, Miss J.C. 40, 43, 55 
Parse, Reverend John C. 135, 150 
Pascal, Dr. Robert 118, 212 
Pascal, Edward 113, 134, 157, 243 
Pascal, James Henry 225 
Pascal, Jean Henri (Balsille) 45, 46 
Pascal, Jean Henri (Bienvenue) 40, 

44, 45, 46, 47, 68, 227, 236, 242 
Pascal, Jean Henri (Gardiole) 38, 44, 

46, 86 
Pascal, Miss Olga 124, 136, 146, 212, 

Pascal, Mrs. Frances Micol 150 

Pastor's Farm 45, 47, 48, 57, 188 

Pearson, Samuel T. 203, 206 

Perrin, Jean Paul 3 

Perrou, Etienne 26 

Perrou, Emmanuel 78 

Perrou, Jr., John Stephen 110 

Pictorial directory 137, 169 

Piedmont Bank 203, 205, 206 

Piedmontese Easter 7 

Pioneer Hall 73, 74, 79, 83, 112, 131, 

148, 154, 164, 208, 209 
Platone, Pastor Giuseppe 140, 152 
Plexico, Jr., Reverend James Clyde 

102-114, 161, 199 
Poet, Reverend Sylvan Stephen 73, 

74, 194 
Pons, Albert 18, 43, 203, 227, 231 
Pons, Dr. Cathy R. 35, 46, 159, 219 
Pons, Edward 120 
Pons, Lydia Jacumin 138, 191 
Pons, Mrs. Ben 86 
Pons, Mrs. O.H. 82 
Pons, Rev. John 43, 45, 57, 64, 66, 72, 

78, 79, 110, 137, 190 
Pons, Sr., Mrs. Frederic H. 82, 100 
Prangins 25 
Presbyterian Board of Home 

Missions 27, 43, 47, 58 
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 138, 

Presbyterian Church in the United 

States 21, 26, 27, 28, 40, 43, 58, 71, 

81, 99, 105, 118, 121, 138, 186 
Presbyterian Church U.S.A. 99 
Presbyterian Men 157, 166, 168 
Presbyterian Women 168 
Prochet, Dr. Matteo 13, 19, 38, 41, 

43, 204, 205 
Provenqal Speech of the Waldensian 

Colonists of Valdese, N.C., The 132, 

Pyatt, Mr. R.L. Ill 

Richard, Louis 14 

Rose, Jr., Reverend John M. 30, 33, 

203, 206 
Rostan, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. John P. 123 
Rostan, Mrs. Linda 151 
Rostan, Mrs. Naomi Bounous 146, 

Rostan, Sr., John P. 117, 208 
Rostan, Sr., Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Ill, 

149, 225 
Rostan, Sr., Mrs. John 123 
Rowe, Ms. Yvone Lenard 157 
Ruth M. Williams Music Scholarship 

Fund 109, 199 
Rutherford, Haynes 113 

Sale of the church lots 37, 39 
Salvageot, Ippolite 27, 31, 37, 39 
Sbaffi, Pastor Aldo 126 
Scaife, Marvin R 13, 14, 19, 31, 203 
Schoolhouse 42, 64 
Schubert, William D. 139 
(Second) Cornerstone Service 249 
Service Committee 138, 140, 179, 201 
Seventy-fifth anniversary 113, 191 
Smith, Mrs. Rhonda 162, 163 
Smith, Rev. John D. 101 
Soulier, Pastor Barthelemy 21-36, 

187, 205, 206 
Spence, Dr. Thomas 117 
Statistical reports 99, 105, 112, 113, 

114, 171 
Stemple, Mrs. Wade H. 78, 81 
Stewardship and Finance Committee 

Stewart, Mrs. Carol 128, 136 
Stiff, Mrs. Evelyn 137 
Stoney, A.B., State Representative 79 
Styles, Rev. Walter H. 93-102, 161, 

163, 198 


Raftelis, Miss Yvonne 101, 102 
Ramsay, Reverend James Alston 34 
Ramsay, Sr., Julius McNutt 34, 236 
Ribet, Lee 79 


Tarlton, Myelitia and Terry 156 
Tenebrae service 127 
Thanksgiving Service 119 
Tourn, Giorgio 134 

Town district 28, 38 

Tran family 133, 137, 149 

Tron, Dr. Charles Albert 13-21, 62, 

185, 203, 204, 206 
Tron, Pastor Emile Henri 47-56, 191 


Upchurch, Mr. 47 


Vacation Bible School 67, 73, 78 
Vacation Church School 155, 167 
Valdese Corporation 16, 19, 28, 37, 43, 

185, 203, 228 
Valdese General Hospital 78, 108, 135, 

Valdese High School 43 
Valdese Manufacturing Company 47, 

57, 59, 97 
Valdese Ministerial Association 118, 

Valdese Shoe Corporation 64, 65 
Van 139 

Venerable Table 46, 186 
Verreault III, Joseph A. 104, 137, 145 
Verreault, Reverend Joseph Armand 

66-69, 79, 110, 137, 192 
Vested choir 72 
Vinay, Charlie 157, 243 
Vinay, Henri 38 
Vinay, Jr., Louis 154 
Vinay, Pastor Enrico 18-21, 186 
Vocational Guidance program 107 
Voting members 28, 30, 50, 232 


Waldenses in the New World, The 

137, 206 
Waldenses of Valdese, The 13, 27 
Waldensian Bakeries 123 
Waldensian Church of Italy 3, 13, 14, 

17, 28, 43, 46, 47, 50, 59, 69, 78, 

116, 118, 126, 134, 152, 211 
Waldensian Festival 127, 140, 148, 

155, 216, 218, 224 
Waldensian Herald 115 

Waldensian Hosiery Mill 38 
Waldensian Museum 113, 122, 123, 

125, 127, 128, 141, 146, 148, 154, 

155, 158, 166, 170, 178, 182, 211, 

Waldensian Tavola 11 
Waldensians: The First 800 Years, 

The 134 
Waldo, Peter 5 
Watts, Dr. George B. 13, 21, 27, 126, 

136, 206 
Wednesday night Bible Class 122 
West, Rev. Cameron 162 
Whisenant, Mrs. Richard F. 149, 239 
William of Orange 8 
Williams, Jr., George W 93, 101, 157, 

243, 247 
Williams, Jr., Mrs. George 72, 78, 85, 

109, 120 
Woman's Board of the Presbyterian 

Church in the United States of 

America (Northern) 41 
Women of the Church 93, 101, 119, 

120, 128, 140 
Women's Auxiliary 71, 73, 78, 79, 80, 

83, 84, 85 
World War I 50, 57, 191 
World War II 77, 83, 216 
Worship Committee 132, 161, 176 
Wright, Rev. Donn W. 108, 111, 112, 

Wright, William 31 
Wurttemberg region of Germany 9 

Yoder, Glenn R. 137, 243, 247 

Youth choir 57, 115, 130 

Youth Club 122, 159 

Youth Handbell Choir 144, 172, 176 

Zaandam 14 




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